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Via Middle English, shortening of Old French espavin, variant of esparvain, from Frankish *sparwan (sparrow), see sparrow.


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spavin (plural spavins)

  1. A disease of horses characterized by a bony swelling developed on the hock as the result of inflammation of the bones.
    • 1920, Peter B. Kyne, The Understanding Heart, Chapter XII
      1. “As an inventor,” Bob Mason suggested, “you're a howling success at shooting craps ! If I were as free of spavins, ringbone, saddle-galls, and splints as you are, I'd have that nanny-goat in here, hog-tie her, flop her and let the boy help himself. []

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