spate

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See also: Spate and späte

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The noun is derived from Middle English spate, spait (a flood),[1] influenced by Scots spate (torrent of water, flood; heavy downpour of rain; (figurative) bout of drinking; large crowd of people; flood of events, words, etc.).[2] The further etymology of the Middle English and Scots words is uncertain;[3] they are possibly related to English spatter and Dutch spatten (to spatter, splash),[2] possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *sp(y)ēw, *spyū (whence English spit (to evacuate (saliva or another substance) from the mouth, etc.)),[4] which is imitative of spitting.

The verb is derived from the noun,[5] probably influenced by Scots spate (to flood, swell; to rain heavily; (figurative) to scold fiercely).[6]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

spate (countable and uncountable, plural spates) (originally Northern England, Scotland)

  1. (countable) A (sudden) flood or inundation of water; specifically, a flood in or overflow of a river or other watercourse due to heavy rain or melting snow; (uncountable, archaic) flooding, inundation.
    • 1562, Wylliam Turner [i.e., William Turner], “Of the Herbe Called Lepidium or Dittani”, in The Second Parte of Guilliam Turners Herball⸝ [], Cologne: [] Arnold Birckman, →OCLC, folio 35, recto:
      Thys Lepidium that Pliny & Paul [of Aegina] deſcribe⸝ groweth plentuouſly about the water ſyde that rynneth thorow Morpeth in Northumberland⸝ in ſuche places as great heapes of ſtones are caſten together wyth the myght of a great ſpat or flood.
    • [1787, Robert Burns, “Auld Brig”, in Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. [], 2nd edition, volume I, Edinburgh: [] T[homas] Cadell, [], and William Creech, [], published 1793, →OCLC, page 76:
      Arous'd by bluſtering vvinds an' ſpotting thovves, / In mony a torrent dovvn the ſnavv-broo rovves; / VVhile craſhing ice, borne on the roaring ſpeat, / Svveeps dams, an' mills, an' brigs, a' to the gate; []]
    • 1874, Alfred Tennyson, “Gareth and Lynette”, in Idylls of the King (The Works of Alfred Tennyson; V), cabinet edition, London: Henry S. King & Co., [], →OCLC, page 37:
      The last tall son of Lot and Bellicent, / And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful spring / Stared at the spate. A slender-shafted Pine / Lost footing, fell, and so was whirled away.
    • 1858, W[illiam] E[wart] Gladstone, Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age. [], volume III, Oxford, Oxfordshire: University Press, →OCLC, part II (Ilios. The Trojans Compared and Contrasted with the Greeks.), page 158:
      Scamander was indeed a great power for the Trojans; it was the great river of the country, [] His floods, however useful in time of war, would in time of peace do fearful damage. [] [H]e carried away, in sudden spates, many of the horses that were pastured on his banks.
    • 1886 February 20, W. Murdoch, “Salmon and Trout-fishing in the Highlands of Scotland.—VII. The Halladale (Sutherlandshire).”, in R. B. Marston, editor, The Fishing Gazette; Devoted to Angling, River, Lake, and Sea Fishing and Fish Culture, volume XII, London: Charles William Bradley & Co. [], →OCLC, page 97, column 1:
      It [the Halladale river] receives the whole of its water-supply from a number of hill burns and several lochs of inconsiderable extent. it follows, therefore, that after rain the surplus water soon runs out, and the river soon dwindles down to an almost unfishable condition. [] An ordinary spate will not suffice to keep the river in good order for more than a couple of days.
    • 1902, Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Campaign of De Wet”, in The Great Boer War [], revised (American) edition, New York, N.Y.: McClure Phillips & Company, →OCLC, page 309:
      At Odendaal, where he [Christiaan de Wet] had hoped to cross, the river was in spate, the British flag waved from a post upon the further side, and a strong force of expectant Guardsmen eagerly awaited him there.
    • 1902 October, Jack London, chapter XXIII, in A Daughter of the Snows, Philadelphia, Pa.: J[oshua] B[allinger] Lippincott Company, →OCLC, page 235:
      The snow had left the bottoms and valleys and nestled only on the north slopes of the ice-scarred ridges. The glacial drip was already in evidence, and every creek in roaring spate.
    • 1910, John Buchan, “The Man on the Kirkcaple Shore”, in Prester John, London, Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, →OCLC, page 86:
      At the edge of the burn, where the path turns downward, there is a patch of shingle washed up by some spate.
    • 1968 March 15, “Liang Chen-yu, a Good Cadre Reared on Mao Tse-tung's Thought”, in Peking Review[1], number 11, →OCLC, archived from the original on January 29, 2013, page 19, column 1; republished as Confucianism[2], 1973, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 172:
      After a rainstorm on July 29, 1966, the Shihtouyu River in Lonan County was in full spate. Mountain torrents poured into it carrying silt and rocks down with them.
  2. (countable) A sudden heavy downpour of rain.
  3. (countable, figurative) A sudden increase or rush of something; a flood, an outburst, an outpouring.

Alternative forms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

spate (third-person singular simple present spates, present participle spating, simple past and past participle spated) (originally Northern England, Scotland, archaic)

  1. (transitive) To (suddenly) flood or inundate (a river or other watercourse) with water.
    • 1844 October, J. Nevay, “Mary Hepburn; or, The Victim of Slander. Chapter X.”, in The Ladies’ Cabinet of Fashion, Music, and Romance, volume II (New Series), London: G. Henderson, →OCLC, page 255:
      [H]e paused in a reverie of wilderment and wonder when he could not discern the old fishing-places—they were deeply and darkly flooded for many yards on every side of the spated stream.
      An adjective use.
    • 1886 February 20, W. Murdoch, “Salmon and Trout-fishing in the Highlands of Scotland.—VII. The Halladale (Sutherlandshire).”, in R. B. Marston, editor, The Fishing Gazette; Devoted to Angling, River, Lake, and Sea Fishing and Fish Culture, volume XII, London: Charles William Bradley & Co. [], →OCLC, page 97, column 1:
      A few of the very best angling streams in the Highlands are almost perennial in their flow; the Halladale, on the contrary, is subject to spating.
      A noun use.
    • 1918, Robert B. Ross, “The Silent Guns”, in The Fifty-first in France, London, New York, N.Y.: Hodder and Stoughton, →OCLC, part I (From May to December 1915), page 84:
      The gates of Anger open, and the flood, / Spated with hate, unstemmed of men, pours out, / Drenching the trench with hot and beaded blood, / Choking each challenging or anguish'd shout.
      A figurative use.
    • [1938], Rajput [pseudonym; Arthur John Eardley Dawson], chapter 12, in Khyber Calling!, London: Hurst & Blackett, →OCLC, section 3, page 181:
      The day was lovely and clear after the rain. The river had not spated as much as I had expected, and there was only one place in my sector where lorries might have found difficulty in crossing the nala.
    • 1977, “Open Waters”, in A Nature Conservation Review, volume 2 (Site Accounts), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press for the Nature Conservancy Council and Natural Environment Research Council, published 2011, →ISBN, page 202, column 1:
      river strontian, argyll [] This is a good example of a short, west-coast spating oligotrophic river. [] The river is subject to a rise in water level of up to 1 m following heavy rain and the water is clear and fairly low in dissolved nutrients.
      An adjective use.
    • 2018, Matthew Carr, “Scholars, Pilgrims, and Troubadours”, in The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination, New York, N.Y.: The New Press, →ISBN, part II (Pyrenean Crossings):
      On one occasion the Segre was spating after heavy rain and threatening to overflow, whereupon [Saint] Ermengol fell down on his knees "begging Christ that the force of the river might turn away from the Virgin Mother" and crying out, "O water, do you dare to perform this sacrilege so that you might break up the estate of the church because you are bored with your usual path? Desist from this crime, violator, I challenge you in the divine name to hear my prayer." The next day the waters subsided, and Ermengol was able to continue the construction of a bridge across the Segre.
    • 2023, Nicholas Dobson, “The French Talk Themselves Up”, in The Regal Throne: Power, Politics and Ribaldry: A Guide to Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V, Eastbourne, East Sussex: Sussex Academic Press, →ISBN, book 4 (Reputation Redeemed! Henry V – Model Warrior King), page 422:
      He [Charles VI of France] therefore bids them 'Rush on his [Henry [V]'s] host' with the force of an Alpine river spated with snow melt.
  2. (intransitive) To (suddenly) rain heavily; to pour.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ spāte, n.(1)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 spate, n.”, in The Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries, 2004–present, →OCLC, reproduced from W[illiam] Grant and D[avid] D. Murison, editors, The Scottish National Dictionary, Edinburgh: Scottish National Dictionary Association, 1931–1976, →OCLC.
  3. ^
    spate, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023
    ; “spate, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  4. ^ John Ayto (1990) Dictionary of Word Origins, New York, N.Y.: Arcade Publishing, →ISBN.
  5. ^
    spate, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023.
  6. ^ spate, v.”, in The Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries, 2004–present, →OCLC, reproduced from W[illiam] Grant and D[avid] D. Murison, editors, The Scottish National Dictionary, Edinburgh: Scottish National Dictionary Association, 1931–1976, →OCLC.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

spate f

  1. plural of spata

Anagrams[edit]

Romanian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Inherited from Latin spathae, plural of spatha, from Ancient Greek σπάθη (spáthē).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

spate n (plural spate)

  1. back (anatomy)
  2. back (part, side) of something
  3. shoulder

Declension[edit]

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Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]