See more synonyms for spud on Thesaurus.com
  1. Informal. a potato.
  2. a spadelike instrument, especially one with a narrow blade, as for digging up or cutting the roots of weeds.
  3. a chisellike tool for removing bark.
  4. a pointed leg or stake for staying or supporting dredging or earth-boring machinery.
  5. a short pipe, as for connecting a water pipe with a meter.
  6. Surgery. an instrument having a dull flattened blade for removing substances or foreign bodies from certain parts of the body, as wax from the ear.
verb (used with object), spud·ded, spud·ding.
  1. to remove with a spud.
Verb Phrases
  1. spud in, to set up earth-boring equipment, especially for drilling an oil well.

Origin of spud

1400–50; late Middle English spudde short knife < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for spud

potato, tater

Examples from the Web for spud

Historical Examples of spud

  • He walked over to Spud, lifted the dummy into position in the crook of his arm.

  • He folded Spud in his arms and followed the two men to the door.

  • And now there was only a trace of the brogue in Spud's voice.

    The Finding of Haldgren

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • "Yellah," Spud had said, but the description was no longer apt.

    The Finding of Haldgren

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • But Spud O'Malley must have experienced no such delicacy of feeling.

    The Finding of Haldgren

    Charles Willard Diffin

British Dictionary definitions for spud


  1. an informal word for potato (def. 1)
  2. a narrow-bladed spade for cutting roots, digging up weeds, etc
  3. Also called: spudder a tool, resembling a chisel, for removing bark from trees
verb spuds, spudding or spudded
  1. (tr) to remove (bark) or eradicate (weeds) with a spud
  2. (intr) to drill the first foot of an oil-well

Word Origin for spud

C15 spudde short knife, of unknown origin; applied later to a digging tool, and hence to a potato
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 spud

mid-15c., "small or poor knife," of uncertain origin probably related to Danish spyd, Old Norse spjot "spear," German Spiess "spear, lance"). Meaning "spade" is from 1660s; sense of "short or stumpy person or thing" is from 1680s; that of "potato" is first recorded 1845 in New Zealand English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spud in Medicine


  1. A blunt triangular knife used for removing foreign bodies from the cornea.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.