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See also: Spear


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From Middle English spere, sperre, spear, from Old English spere, from Proto-West Germanic *speru, from Proto-Germanic *speru, from Proto-Indo-European *sperH-.



spear (plural spears)

  1. A long stick with a sharp tip used as a weapon for throwing or thrusting, or anything used to make a thrusting motion.
  2. (now chiefly historical) A soldier armed with such a weapon; a spearman.
  3. A lance with barbed prongs, used by fishermen to retrieve fish.
  4. (ice hockey) An illegal maneuver using the end of a hockey stick to strike into another hockey player.
  5. (wrestling) In professional wrestling, a running tackle in which the wrestler's shoulder is driven into the opponent's midsection.
  6. A shoot, as of grass; a spire.
  7. The feather of a horse.
  8. The rod to which the bucket, or plunger, of a pump is attached; a pump rod.
  9. A long, thin strip from a vegetable.
    asparagus and broccoli spears

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


spear (third-person singular simple present spears, present participle spearing, simple past and past participle speared)

  1. (transitive) To pierce with a spear.
    • 2012, Robin Reid, Savannas of Our Birth:
      By the 1970s, herders were spearing rhinos and poisoning lions to protest the loss of their land to conservation, then represented by the independent Kenyan government.
  2. (transitive, by extension) To penetrate or strike with, or as if with, any long narrow object; to make a thrusting motion that catches an object on the tip of a long device.
    • 2003, Stan Fischler, Shirley Fischler, Who's who in Hockey
      Former teammate Derek Sanderson recalls that Maki hit Ted from behind as Green was clearing the puck from the Boston zone. Green turned to knock Maki down, but Maki speared him as he rose from the ice.
  3. (gridiron football) To tackle an opponent by ramming into them with one's helmet.
  4. (intransitive) To shoot into a long stem, as some plants do.
    • 1707, J[ohn] Mortimer, The Whole Art of Husbandry; or, The Way of Managing and Improving of Land. [], 2nd edition, London: [] J[ohn] H[umphreys] for H[enry] Mortlock [], and J[onathan] Robinson [], published 1708, OCLC 13320837:
      you may prepare them for spearing by laying the Keys in Earth or Sand



spear (not comparable)

  1. Male.
    a spear counterpart
  2. Pertaining to male family members.
    the spear side of the family



Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of spere (spear)

West Frisian[edit]


From Old Frisian spere, spiri, from Proto-West Germanic *speru, from Proto-Germanic *speru.


spear c (plural spearen, diminutive spearke)

  1. spear

Further reading[edit]

  • spear”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011