1 of 2


: a small fragment or chip especially of stone


2 of 2


spalled; spalling; spalls

transitive verb

: to break up or reduce by or as if by chipping with a hammer

intransitive verb

: to break off chips, scales, or slabs : exfoliate
: to undergo spallation
spallable adjective

Examples of spall in a Sentence

Noun found a variety of uses for the spalls left over from their stonecutting operations
Recent Examples on the Web
They are made up of huge amounts of matter squeezed into a spall space, which creates a gravitational field so powerful that the black hole pulls everything around it inside, including light. Vogue, 10 Apr. 2019 The curtains are made up of overlapping, three-quarter inch plates of AR500 steel encased in a layer of ballistic nylon that captures spall, the shards of metal that break off from a colliding bullet. Dan Robitzski, Popular Mechanics, 8 Mar. 2018 The reports noted that numerous repairs had been made to cracks and spalls in the spillway. Bettina Boxall,, 24 Apr. 2017
Even better, the shards of glass from the inner lamination wind up stuck to the membrane, keeping them from spalling away from the windshield at a high velocity, causing great havoc. Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, 27 June 2019 When spalling occurs on the exterior of the concrete, material can break off and fall onto the road below. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, 22 June 2018 Where the rocks had spalled, the ledges were covered in moss and spiked with twisted red arbutus trees. New York Times, 26 Jan. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spall.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English spalle

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1758, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of spall was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near spall

Cite this Entry

“Spall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

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