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See also: Spurn



From Middle English spurnen, spornen, from Old English spurnan (to strike against, kick, spurn, reject; stumble), from Proto-Germanic *spurnaną (to tread, kick, knock out), from Proto-Indo-European *sper-, *sperw- (to twitch, push, fidget, be quick). Cognate with Scots spurn (to strike, push, kick), German anspornen (to spur on), Icelandic sporna, spyrna (to kick), Latin spernō (despise, distain, scorn). Related to spur and spread.



spurn (third-person singular simple present spurns, present participle spurning, simple past and past participle spurned)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To reject disdainfully; contemn; scorn.
    • Shakespeare
      to spurn at your most royal image
    • Shakespeare
      What safe and nicely I might well delay / By rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn.
    • John Locke
      Domestics will pay a more cheerful service when they find themselves not spurned because fortune has laid them at their master's feet.
  2. (transitive) To reject something by pushing it away with the foot.
    • Shakespeare
      I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.
  3. (transitive) To waste; fail to make the most of (an opportunity)
    • 2011 September 28, Tom Rostance, “Arsenal 2 - 1 Olympiakos”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Marouane Chamakh then spurned a great chance to kill the game off when he ran onto Andrey Arshavin's lofted through ball but shanked his shot horribly across the face of goal.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To kick or toss up the heels.
    • Chaucer
      The miller spurned at a stone.
    • Gay
      The drunken chairman in the kennel spurns.

Derived terms[edit]



spurn (plural spurns)

  1. An act of spurning; a scornful rejection.
  2. A kick; a blow with the foot.
    • Milton
      What defence can properly be used in such a despicable encounter as this but either the slap or the spurn?
  3. (obsolete) Disdainful rejection; contemptuous treatment.
    • Shakespeare
      The insolence of office and the spurns / That patient merit of the unworthy takes.
  4. (mining) A body of coal left to sustain an overhanging mass.