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From Middle French gaspiller (to waste) (c. 1549). Of uncertain origin. Perhaps a modification of Middle French gaspailler (to throw back/reject bullets of wheat) from Old French gaspail, vaspale (bullet of wheat) (compare Medieval Latin gaspalium; Old Northern French waspail (chaff)), from Frankish *wispila (measure of grain) from Proto-Germanic *wisp- (measure of grain). Akin to Middle Dutch wispel, Middle Low German wispel, Norwegian visp, English wisp (handful or bundle of hay or grass). More at wisp.

Alternate etymology connects Middle French gaspiller to Frankish *gaspillan, *gaspildjan (to waste) from Proto-Germanic *gaspilþijaną (to destroy, waste), from Proto-Indo-European *spel- (to break off, split), making it cognate with Old High German gaspildan (to squander, waste), Middle Dutch spillen (to waste), Old English ġespillan (to spill, waste, spend). Compare also Occitan guespillar, gispillar (to trouble, tease) from the same Germanic source. More at spill.


gaspilleux m (plural gaspilleurs)

  1. (Jersey) spendthrift