spodomancy (n.) Look up spodomancy at Dictionary.com
"divination by ashes," 1836, from Greek spodos "wood ashes, embers," of uncertain origin, + -mancy. Related: Spodomantic.
spoil (n.) Look up spoil at Dictionary.com
"booty, goods captured in time of war," mid-14c., spoils (collective singular), from spoil (v.) or else from Old French espoille "booty, spoil," from the verb in French, and in part from Latin spolium. Also from the Latin noun are Spanish espolio, Italian spoglio.

Transferred sense of "that which has been acquired by special effort" is from 1750. Spoils has stood cynically for "public offices, etc." aince at least 1770. Spoils system in U.S. politics attested by 1839, commonly associated with the administration of President Andrew Jackson, on the notion of "to the victor belongs the spoils."
spoil (v.) Look up spoil at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "to strip (someone) of clothes, strip a slain enemy," from Old French espillier "to strip, plunder, pillage," from Latin spoliare "to strip, uncover, lay bare; strip of clothing, rob, plunder, pillage," from spolia, plural of spolium "arms taken from an enemy, booty;" originally "skin stripped from a killed animal," from PIE *spol-yo-, perhaps from root *spel- "to split, to break off" (see spill (v.)).

From late 14c. in English as "strip with violence, rob, pillage, plunder, dispossess; impoverish with excessive taxation." Used c. 1400 as the verb to describe Christ's harrowing of Hell. Sense of "destroy, ruin, damage so as to render useless" is from 1560s; that of "to over-indulge" (a child, etc.) is from 1640s (implied in spoiled). Intransitive sense of "become tainted, go bad, lose freshness" is from 1690s. To be spoiling for (a fight, etc.) is from 1865, from notion that one will "spoil" if he doesn't get it.
spoil-sport (n.) Look up spoil-sport at Dictionary.com
1786, from verbal phrase (attested by 1711) in reference to one who "ruins" the "fun;" see spoil (v.) + sport (n.). Compare Chaucer's letgame "hinderer of pleasure" (late 14c.), from obsolete verb let (Middle English letten) "hinder, prevent, stop" (see let (n.)). Another old word for it was addle-plot "person who spoils any amusement" (see addle).
spoiled (adj.) Look up spoiled at Dictionary.com
"over-indulged," 1640s, past participle adjective from spoil (v.).
spoiler (n.) Look up spoiler at Dictionary.com
1530s, "one who robs or plunders," agent noun from spoil (v.). Meaning "one who mars another's chance at victory" is attested from 1950 in U.S. politics, perhaps from boxing. Aeronautics sense is from 1928, because the flap thwarts the "lift" on the plane; transferred to structures serving a similar purpose on speedboats (1957) and motor vehicles (1963). Meaning "information about the plot of a movie, etc., which might 'spoil' it for one who has not seen it" is attested by 1982.
spoke (n.) Look up spoke at Dictionary.com
"radius of a wheel," Old English spaca "spoke of a wheel, radius," related to spicing "large nail," from Proto-Germanic *spaikon (source also of Old Saxon speca, Old Frisian spake, Dutch spaak, Old High German speicha, German speiche "spoke"), of uncertain origin, probably from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (see spike (n.1)).
spoken (adj.) Look up spoken at Dictionary.com
"uttered, oral" (as opposed to written), 1837, past participle adjective from speak (v.).
spokesman (n.) Look up spokesman at Dictionary.com
1510s, "an interpreter," 1530s in the sense of "person who speaks for another or others." Irregular formation from spoke, past tense of speak (actually a back-formation from spoken) + man (n.). Perhaps on analogy of craftsman. Spokeswoman is from 1650s; spokesperson is from 1972; spokesmodel is attested from 1990.
spoliation (n.) Look up spoliation at Dictionary.com
"robbery, plunder," c. 1400, from Latin spoliationem (nominative spoliatio) "a robbing, plundering, pillaging," noun of action from past participle stem of spoliare "to plunder, rob" (see spoil (v.)).
spondee (n.) Look up spondee at Dictionary.com
"metrical foot consisting of two long syllables," late 14c., from Old French spondee (14c.), from Latin spondeus, from Greek spondeios (pous), the name of the meter originally used in chants accompanying libations, from sponde "solemn libation, a drink-offering," related to spendein "make a drink offering," from PIE root *spend- "to make an offering, perform a rite," hence "to engage oneself by a ritual act" (source also of Latin spondere "to engage oneself, promise," Hittite shipantahhi "I pour out a libation, I sacrifice"). Related: Spondaic.
spondulicks (n.) Look up spondulicks at Dictionary.com
1856, American English slang, "money, cash," of unknown origin, said to be from Greek spondylikos, from spondylos, a seashell used as currency (the Greek word means literally "vertebra"). "[U]sed by Mark Twain and by O. Henry and since then adopted into British English" [Barnhart], where it survived after having faded in the U.S.
spondyle (n.) Look up spondyle at Dictionary.com
"a vertebra," from French spondyle (14c.), from Latin spondylus, from Greek spondylos "vertebra" (see spondylo-).
spondylitis (n.) Look up spondylitis at Dictionary.com
"inflammation of the vertebrae," 1837, Modern Latin, from Latin spondylus, from Greek spondylos (see spondylo-) + -itis "inflammation."
spondylo- Look up spondylo- at Dictionary.com
before vowels spondyl-, comb form meaning "vertebrae," from Greek spondylos "a vertebra," in plural "the backbone," variant of sphondylos, of uncertain origin.
spondylolisthesis (n.) Look up spondylolisthesis at Dictionary.com
medical Latin, from Greek spondylos (see spondylo-) + oliothesis "dislocation, slipping."
spondylosis (n.) Look up spondylosis at Dictionary.com
1885, from Greek spondylos "vertebra" (see spondylo-) + -osis.
sponge (v.) Look up sponge at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "to soak up with a sponge," also (transitive) "to cleanse or wipe with a sponge," from sponge (n.). The slang sense of "to live in a parasitic manner, live at the expense of others" is attested from 1670s; sponger (n.) in this sense is from 1670s. Originally it was the victim who was the sponge (c. 1600), because he or she was being "squeezed." Intransitive sense "dive for sponges" is from 1881. Related: Sponged; sponging.
sponge (n.) Look up sponge at Dictionary.com
Old English sponge, spunge, from Latin spongia "a sponge," also "sea animal from which a sponge comes," from Greek spongia, related to spongos "sponge," of unknown origin. "Probably a loanword from a non-IE language, borrowed independently into Greek, Latin and Armenian in a form *sphong-" [de Vaan]. The Latin word is the source of Old Saxon spunsia, Middle Dutch spongie, Old French esponge, Spanish esponja, Italian spugna.

In English in reference to the marine animal from 1530s. To throw in the sponge "quit, submit" (1860) is from prizefighting, in reference to the sponges used to cleanse the faces of combatants between rounds (compare later throw in the towel). Sponge-cake is attested from 1808.
sponger (n.) Look up sponger at Dictionary.com
1670s, "parasite," agent noun from sponge (v.) in figurative sense. As a job on a cannon crew, by 1828.
spongiform (adj.) Look up spongiform at Dictionary.com
"resembling a sponge," 1774, from Latin spongia "sponge" (see sponge (n.)) + forma "form, shape" (see form (n.)).
spongy (adj.) Look up spongy at Dictionary.com
"soft, elastic," 1530s, from sponge (n.) + -y (2). Of hard material (especially bone) "open, porous," 1590s. Related: Sponginess.
sponsor (n.) Look up sponsor at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Late Latin sponsor "sponsor in baptism," in Latin "a surety, guarantee, bondsman," from sponsus, past participle of spondere "give assurance, promise solemnly" (see spondee). Sense of "person who pays for a radio (or, after 1947, TV) program" is first recorded 1931.
sponsor (v.) Look up sponsor at Dictionary.com
1884, "to favor or support," from sponsor (n.). Commercial broadcasting sense is from 1931. Related: Sponsored; sponsoring.
sponsorship (n.) Look up sponsorship at Dictionary.com
1753, from sponsor (n.) + -ship.
spontaneity (n.) Look up spontaneity at Dictionary.com
1650s, from French spontanéité or a native formation from spontaneous + -ity.
spontaneous (adj.) Look up spontaneous at Dictionary.com
1650s, "occurring without external stimulus," from Late Latin spontaneus "willing, of one's free will," from Latin (sua) sponte "of one's own accord, willingly," a word of uncertain origin. Related: Spontaneously; spontaneousness. Used earlier of persons and characters, with a sense "acting of one's own accord" (c. 1200). Spontaneous combustion first attested 1795. Spontaneous generation (the phrase, not the feat) attested from 1650s.
spoof (n.) Look up spoof at Dictionary.com
"hoax, deception," 1889, from spouf (1884), name of a game invented by British comedian Arthur Roberts (1852-1933). Sense of "a parody, satirical skit or play" is first recorded 1958, from verb in this sense (1914).
spoof (v.) Look up spoof at Dictionary.com
1889, "to hoax, deceive, trick;" from 1914 as "to parody or satirize;" see spoof (n.). Related: Spoofed; spoofing.
spook (v.) Look up spook at Dictionary.com
1867, "to walk or act like a ghost," from spook (n.). Meaning "to unnerve" is from 1935. Related: Spooked; spooking.
spook (n.) Look up spook at Dictionary.com
1801, "spectre, apparition, ghost," from Dutch spook, from Middle Dutch spooc "spook, ghost," from a common Germanic source (German Spuk "ghost, apparition," Middle Low German spok "spook," Swedish spok "scarecrow," Norwegian spjok "ghost, specter," Danish spøg "joke"), of unknown origin. According to Klein's sources, possible outside connections include Lettish spigana "dragon, witch," spiganis "will o' the wisp," Lithuanian spingu, spingeti "to shine," Old Prussian spanksti "spark."

Meaning "undercover agent" is attested from 1942. The derogatory racial sense of "black person" is attested from 1940s, perhaps from notion of dark skin being difficult to see at night. Black pilots trained at Tuskegee Institute during World War II called themselves the Spookwaffe.
spooky (adj.) Look up spooky at Dictionary.com
1854, "frightening;" 1926, "easily frightened," from spook (n. or v.) + -y (2). Related: Spookily; spookiness.
spool (v.) Look up spool at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from spool (n.). Related: Spooled; spooling; spooler (1550s).
spool (n.) Look up spool at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "wheel for winding thread upon," from Old North French spole, espole "a spool" (13c.), from Middle Dutch spoele "a spool," from Proto-Germanic *spolon (source also of Norwegian and Swedish spole, Old High German spuola, German Spule "a spool, bobbin"), from PIE root *spel- "to cleave, split" (see spoil (v.)).
spoon (v.) Look up spoon at Dictionary.com
1715, "to dish out with a spoon," from spoon (n.). The meaning "court, flirt sentimentally" is first recorded 1831, a back-formation from spoony (adj.) "soft, silly, weak-minded, foolishly sentimental." Related: Spooned; spooning.
spoon (n.) Look up spoon at Dictionary.com
Old English spon "chip, sliver, shaving, splinter of wood," from Proto-Germanic *spe-nu- (source also of Old Norse spann, sponn "chip, splinter," Swedish spån "a wooden spoon," Old Frisian spon, Middle Dutch spaen, Dutch spaan, Old High German span, German Span "chip, splinter"), from PIE *spe- (2) "long, flat piece of wood" (source also of Greek spathe "spade," also possibly Greek sphen "wedge").

As the word for a type of eating utensil, c. 1300 in English (in Old English such a thing might be a metesticca), in this sense supposed to be from Old Norse sponn, which meant "spoon" as well as "chip, tile." The "eating utensil" sense is specific to Middle English and Scandinavian, though Middle Low German spon also meant "wooden spatula." To be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth is from at least 1719 (Goldsmith, 1765, has: "one man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a wooden ladle").
spoon-bread (n.) Look up spoon-bread at Dictionary.com
1932, from spoon (n.) + bread (n.).
spoon-feed (v.) Look up spoon-feed at Dictionary.com
"to feed (someone) with a spoon," 1610s, from spoon (n.) + feed (v.). Figurative sense is attested by 1864. Related: Spoon-fed.
spoonbill (n.) Look up spoonbill at Dictionary.com
1670s, from spoon (n.) + bill (n.2); after Dutch lepelaar (from lepel "spoon").
spoonerism (n.) Look up spoonerism at Dictionary.com
1900, but according to OED in use at Oxford as early as 1885, involuntary transposition of sounds in two or more words (such as "shoving leopard" for "loving shepherd," "half-warmed fish" for "half-formed wish," "beery work speaking to empty wenches," etc.), in reference to the Rev. William A. Spooner (1844-1930), warden of New College, Oxford, who was noted for such disfigures of speech. A different thing from malapropism.
spoonful (n.) Look up spoonful at Dictionary.com
late 13c., from spoon (n.) + -ful.
spoony (adj.) Look up spoony at Dictionary.com
1812, "soft, silly, weak-minded;" by 1836 as "foolishly sentimental," with -y (2) + spoon (n.) in a slang sense "silly person, simpleton" (1799), a figurative use of the eating utensil word, perhaps based on the notion of shallowness. Related: Spoonily; spooniness.
spoor (n.) Look up spoor at Dictionary.com
"track, trace," 1823, used originally by travelers in South Africa, from Afrikaans spoor, from Dutch spoor, from Middle Dutch spor, cognate with Old English spor "footprint, track, trace," from Proto-Germanic *spur-am, from PIE *spere- "ankle" (see spurn).
sporadic (adj.) Look up sporadic at Dictionary.com
1680s, from Medieval Latin sporadicus "scattered," from Greek sporadikos "scattered," from sporas (genitive sporados) "scattered, dispersed," from spora "a sowing" (see spore). Originally a medical term, "occurring in scattered instances;" the meaning "happening at intervals" is first recorded 1847. Related: Sporadical (1650s); sporadically.
sporangium (n.) Look up sporangium at Dictionary.com
"a case containing spores," 1821, Modern Latin (plural sporangia), from Greek spora "spore" (see spore) + angeion "vessel" (see angio-).
spore (n.) Look up spore at Dictionary.com
"reproductive body in flowerless plants corresponding to the seeds of flowering ones," 1836, from Modern Latin spora, from Greek spora "a seed, a sowing, seed-time," related to sporas "scattered, dispersed," sporos "a sowing," and speirein "to sow, scatter," from PIE *spor-, variant of root *sper- (4) "to strew" (see sprout (v.)).
spork (n.) Look up spork at Dictionary.com
1909, from spoon (n.) + fork (n.).
sporo- Look up sporo- at Dictionary.com
before vowels spor-, word-forming element meaning "spore," from Greek spora "a seed, a sowing," related to sporas "scattered, dispersed," sporos "sowing," and speirein "to sow," from PIE *spor-, variant of root *sper- (4) "to strew" (see sprout (v.)).
sporophyte (n.) Look up sporophyte at Dictionary.com
from sporo- + -phyte.
sporran (n.) Look up sporran at Dictionary.com
furred leather pouch, 1818, from Gaelic sporan, Irish sparan "purse," of uncertain origin. Familiarized by Walter Scott (first attested English use is in "Rob Roy").