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 comb. form of 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").
sport (v.) Look up sport at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "to take pleasure, to amuse oneself," from Old French desporter, deporter "to divert, amuse, please, play" (see disport). Restricted sense of "amuse oneself by active exercise in open air or taking part in some game" is from late 15c. Meaning "to wear" is from 1778. Related: Sported; sporting.
sport (n.) Look up sport at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "pleasant pastime," shortening of disport "activity that offers amusement or relaxation; entertainment, fun" (c.1300), also "a pastime or game; flirtation; pleasure taken in such activity" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French disport, Old French desport, deport "pleasure, enjoyment, delight; solace, consolation; favor, privilege," related to desporter, deporter "to divert, amuse, please, play" (see sport (v.)).

Original sense preserved in phrases such as in sport "in jest" (mid-15c.). Meaning "game involving physical exercise" first recorded 1520s. Sense of "stylish man" is from 1861, American English, probably because they lived by gambling and betting on races. Meaning "good fellow" is attested from 1881 (as in be a sport, 1913). Sport as a familiar form of address to a man is from 1935, Australian English. The sport of kings was originally (1660s) war-making. Other, lost senses of Middle English disport were "consolation, solace; a source of comfort."
sporting (adj.) Look up sporting at Dictionary.com
c.1600, "playful;" 1799 as "characterized by conduct constant with that of a sportsman" (as in sporting chance, 1897), present participle adjective from sport (v.).
sportive (adj.) Look up sportive at Dictionary.com
1580s, "frolicsome," from sport (n.) + -ive. Related: Sportively; sportiveness. Earlier was sportful (c.1400).
sports (n.) Look up sports at Dictionary.com
atheltic games and contests, 1590s, from sport (n.). Meaning "sports section of a newspaper" is 1913. As an adjective from 1897. Sports fan attested from 1921. Sports car attested by 1914; so called for its speed and power:
I have just returned from the south of France, passing through Lyons, where I visited the [Berliet] works with my car, and was shown the new model 25 h.p. "sports" car, and was so impressed with this that I immediately ordered one on my return to London. [letter in "The Autocar," Jan. 7, 1914]
sportscast (n.) Look up sportscast at Dictionary.com
1938, from sports + ending from broadcast (n.).
sportsman (n.) Look up sportsman at Dictionary.com
1706, from sports + man (n.). Sportswoman attested from 1754.
sportsmanlike (adj.) Look up sportsmanlike at Dictionary.com
1728, from sportsman + like (adj.).
sportsmanship (n.) Look up sportsmanship at Dictionary.com
"conduct worthy of a sportsman," 1745, from sportsman + -ship.
sportswear (n.) Look up sportswear at Dictionary.com
also sports-wear, 1912, from sports (n.) + wear (n.). Hence sports coat, sports shirt, etc.
sporty (adj.) Look up sporty at Dictionary.com
1889, "sportsmanlike;" 1962, "in the style of a sports car," from sport (n.) + -y (2). Related: Sportily; sportiness.
spot (n.) Look up spot at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "moral stain," probably from Old English splott "a spot, blot, patch (of land)," and partly from or related to Middle Dutch spotte "spot, speck." Other cognates are East Frisian spot "speck," North Frisian spot "speck, piece of ground," Old Norse spotti "small piece," Norwegian spot "spot, small piece of land." It is likely that some of these are borrowed from others, but the exact evolution now is impossible to trace.

Meaning "speck, stain" is from mid-14c. The sense of "particular place, small extent of space" is from c.1300. Meaning "short interval in a broadcast for an advertisement or announcement" is from 1923. Proceeded by a number (as in five-spot) it originally was a term for "prison sentence" of that many years (1901, American English slang). To put (someone) on the spot "place in a difficult situation" is from 1928. Colloquial phrase to hit the spot "satisfy, be what is required" is from 1868. Spot check first attested 1933. Adverbial phrase spot on "completely right" attested from 1920.
spot (v.) Look up spot at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "to mark or stain with spots;" late 14c. as "to stain, sully, tarnish," from spot (n.). Meaning "to see and recognize," is from 1718, originally colloquial and applied to a criminal or suspected person; the general sense is from 1860. Related: Spotted; spotting. Spotted dick "suet pudding with currants and raisins" is attested from 1849.
spotless (adj.) Look up spotless at Dictionary.com
late 14c., spotlez, from spot (n.) + -less. Figurative sense is from 1570s. Related: Spotlessly; spotlessness.
spotlight (n.) Look up spotlight at Dictionary.com
1904, from spot (n.) + light (n.). Originally a theatrical equipment; figurative sense is attested from 1916. The verb is first recorded 1923.
spotter (n.) Look up spotter at Dictionary.com
1610s, "one who makes spots," agent noun from spot (v.). From 1893 in hunting; 1903 in sense "look-out."
spotty (adj.) Look up spotty at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "marked with spots," from spot (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "unsteady, uneven" is attested from 1932, from a more specific use with reference to painting (1812).
spousage (n.) Look up spousage at Dictionary.com
"marriage, wedlock," mid-14c., from spouse (n.) + -age.
spousal (adj.) Look up spousal at Dictionary.com
1510s, "pertaining to marriage," from spouse (n.) + -al (1).
spousal (n.) Look up spousal at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "a wedding ceremony, action of marrying; wedlock, condition of being espoused," from Anglo-French spousaille, Old French esposaille (see espousal). Earlier was spousage "marriage, wedlock" (mid-14c.).
spouse (n.) Look up spouse at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "a married person, either one of a married pair, but especially a married woman in relation to her husband," also "Christ or God as the spiritual husband of the soul, the church, etc.," also "marriage, the wedded state," from Old French spous (fem. spouse) "marriage partner," variant of espous/espouse (Modern French épous/épouse), from Latin sponsus "bridegroom" (fem. sponsa "bride"), literally "betrothed," from masc. and fem. past participle of spondere "to bind oneself, promise solemnly," from PIE *spend- "to make an offering, perform a rite" (see spondee). Spouse-breach (early 13c.) was an old name for "adultery."
spout (v.) Look up spout at Dictionary.com
"to issue forcible, as a liquid," early 14c., related to Middle Dutch spoiten "to spout" (Dutch spuiten "to flow, spout"), North Frisian spütji "spout, squirt," Swedish sputa "to spout," from Proto-Germanic *sput-, from PIE *sp(y)eu- "to spew, spit" (see spew (v.)). Meaning "to talk, declaim" is recorded from 1610s. Related: Spouted; spouting.
spout (n.) Look up spout at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from spout (v.). Cognate with Middle Dutch spoit, North Frisian spütj. It was the slang term for the lift in a pawnbroker's shop, the device which took up articles for storage, hence figurative phrase up the spout "lost, hopeless, gone beyond recall" (1812).
sprag (n.) Look up sprag at Dictionary.com
"prop in a mine," 1841, of unknown origin. Transferred by 1878 to wood blocks, etc., used to brake motor vehicles. As a verb, from 1841. Related: Spragged; spragging.
sprain (n.) Look up sprain at Dictionary.com
c.1600, of uncertain origin. The verb is attested from 1620s. A connection has been suggested to Middle French espraindre "to press out," from Latin exprimere [Klein, Century Dictionary], but the sense evolution is difficult. Related: Sprained; spraining.
sprang Look up sprang at Dictionary.com
past tense of spring (v.).
sprat (n.) Look up sprat at Dictionary.com
small European herring, 1590s, variant of sprot (c.1300), from Old English sprott "a small herring," according to Klein related to Dutch sprot and probably connected to sprout (v.).
sprawl (v.) Look up sprawl at Dictionary.com
Old English spreawlian "move convulsively," with cognates in the Scandinavian languages (such as Norwegian sprala, Danish sprælle) and North Frisian spraweli, probably ultimately from PIE root *sper- (4) "to strew" (see sprout (v.)). Meaning "to spread out" is from c.1300. That of "to spread or stretch in a careless manner" is attested from 1540s; of things, from 1745. Related: Sprawled; sprawling.
sprawl (n.) Look up sprawl at Dictionary.com
1719, from sprawl (v.); meaning "straggling expansion of built-up districts into surrounding countryside" is from 1955.
spray (v.) Look up spray at Dictionary.com
"sprinkle liquid in drops," 1520s, from Middle Dutch sprayen, from Proto-Germanic *sprewjan (cognates: German sprühen "to sparkle, drizzle," Spreu "chaff," literally "that which flies about"), from extended form of PIE root *sper- (4) "to sow, scatter" (see sprout (v.)). Related: Sprayed; spraying.
spray (n.1) Look up spray at Dictionary.com
"small branch," mid-13c., of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to Old English spræc "shoot, twig" (see sprig), and compare Danish sprag in same sense.
spray (n.2) Look up spray at Dictionary.com
"water blown by waves," 1620s, from spray (v.).
spray-paint (v.) Look up spray-paint at Dictionary.com
1928, from spray (v.) + paint (v.). Related: Spray-painting (1902).
spread (v.) Look up spread at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "to stretch out, to lay out; diffuse, disseminate" (transitive), also "to advance over a wide area" (intransitive); probably from Old English sprædan "to spread, stretch forth, extend" (especially in tosprædan "to spread out," and gesprædung "spreading"), from Proto-Germanic *spreit- (cognates: Danish sprede, Old Swedish spreda, Middle Dutch spreiden, Old High German and German spreiten "to spread"), extended form of PIE root *sper- (4) "to strew" (see sprout (v.)). Reflexive sense of "to be outspread" is from c.1300; that of "to extend, expand" is attested from mid-14c. Transitive sense of "make (something) wide" is from late 14c. As an adjective from 1510s. Related: Spreading.
spread (n.) Look up spread at Dictionary.com
1620s, "act of spreading;" 1690s, "extent or expanse of something," from spread (v.). Meaning "copious meal" dates from 1822; sense of "food for spreading" (butter, jam, etc.) is from 1812. Sense of "bed cover" is recorded from 1848, originally American English. Meaning "degree of variation" is attested from 1929. Meaning "ranch for raising cattle" is attested from 1927.
spread-eagle (n.) Look up spread-eagle at Dictionary.com
literally "splayed eagle," 1560s, a heraldic term, from past participle adjective of spread (v.). Common on signs, flags, etc; the colloquial term was from split crow. The figure is on the seal of the United States (hence spreadeagleism "extravagant laudation of the U.S.," 1858). Meaning "person secured with arms and legs stretched out" (originally to be flogged) is attested from 1785.
spreadable (adj.) Look up spreadable at Dictionary.com
1940, from spread (v.) + -able.