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See also: Speck



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English spekke, from Old English specca (small spot, stain). Cognate with Low German spaken (to spot with wet).


speck (plural specks)

  1. A tiny spot, especially of dirt etc.
    a tiny speck of soot
    • 2013 July 20, “Out of the gloom”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      [Rural solar plant] schemes are of little help to industry or other heavy users of electricity. Nor is solar power yet as cheap as the grid. For all that, the rapid arrival of electric light to Indian villages is long overdue. When the national grid suffers its next huge outage, as it did in July 2012 when hundreds of millions were left in the dark, look for specks of light in the villages.
  2. A very small thing; a particle; a whit.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:modicum
    He has not a speck of money.
    • a. 1864, Walter Savage Landor, quoted in 1971, Ernest Dilworth, Walter Savage Landor, Twayne Publishers, page 88,
      Onward, and many bright specks bubble up along the blue Aegean; islands, every one of which, if the songs and stories of the pilots are true, is the monument of a greater man than I am.
    • 1994, Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, →ISBN:
      Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
  3. A small etheostomoid fish, Etheostoma stigmaeum, common in the eastern United States.


speck (third-person singular simple present specks, present participle specking, simple past and past participle specked)

  1. (transitive) To mark with specks; to speckle.
    paper specked by impurities in the water used in its manufacture
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1991, Stephen Orgel, Jonathan Goldberg (editors), The Major Works, 2003, paperback, page 534,
      Each flower of slender stalk, whose head though gay / Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold, / Hung drooping unsustained,

Etymology 2[edit]

From earlier specke, spycke (probably reinforced by Dutch spek, German Speck), from Middle English spik, spyk, spike, spich, from Old English spic (bacon; lard; fat), from Proto-West Germanic *spik, from Proto-Germanic *spiką (bacon). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Späk, Dutch spek, German Speck, Icelandic spik.


speck (uncountable)

  1. Fat; lard; fat meat.
  2. (uncountable) A juniper-flavoured ham originally from Tyrol.
  3. The blubber of whales or other marine mammals.
  4. The fat of the hippopotamus.



speck affettato – sliced speck


Borrowed from German Speck, from Middle High German spec, from Old High German spek, from Proto-Germanic *spiką (bacon).


  • IPA(key): /ˈspɛk/
  • Rhymes: -ɛk
  • Hyphenation: spèck


speck m (invariable)

  1. speck (type of ham)
    Hypernym: salume


  • speck in Treccani.it – Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana

Further reading[edit]