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

Examples from the Web for spudding

Historical Examples of spudding

  • Hugh used to trot about with him, spudding up weeds from the lawn.


    Arthur Christopher Benson

British Dictionary definitions for spudding


  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 spudding



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

spudding 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.