• synonyms


  1. a long, narrow, thin strip of wood, metal, etc.; slat.
  2. a long, flexible strip of wood or the like, used in drawing curves.
  3. Machinery.
    1. any of a series of uniformly spaced ridges on a shaft, parallel to its axis and fitting inside corresponding grooves in the hub of a gear, etc., to transmit torque.
    2. feather key.
  4. Building Trades. a thin strip of material inserted into the edges of two boards, acoustic tiles, etc., to make a butt joint between them; a feather.
  5. Mathematics, Engineering. a function that has specified values at a finite number of points and consists of segments of polynomial functions joined smoothly at these points, enabling it to be used for approximation and interpolation of functions.
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verb (used with object), splined, splin·ing. Machinery.
  1. to provide with a spline or key.
  2. to provide with a keyway.
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Origin of spline

1750–60; orig. East Anglian dial.; perhaps akin to splint; compare Old English splin spindle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for splined

Historical Examples of splined

  • The feed screw is splined to give an independent feed, and the swing frame is operated by a worm as shown.

    Modern Machine-Shop Practice, Volumes I and II

    Joshua Rose

  • The front end of the feed rod is supported in a drop box q, and is splined to allow the worm k to travel upon it.

British Dictionary definitions for splined


  1. any one of a series of narrow keys (external splines) formed longitudinally around the circumference of a shaft that fit into corresponding grooves (internal splines) in a mating part: used to prevent movement between two parts, esp in transmitting torque
  2. a long narrow strip of wood, metal, etc; slat
  3. a thin narrow strip made of wood, metal, or plastic fitted into a groove in the edge of a board, tile, etc, to connect it to another
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  1. (tr) to provide (a shaft, part, etc) with splines
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Word Origin for spline

C18: East Anglian dialect; perhaps related to Old English splin spindle; see splint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for splined



"long, thin piece of wood or metal," 1756, from East Anglian dialect, perhaps from older Danish splind or North Frisian splinj.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper