\ ˈspȯl How to pronounce spall (audio) \

Definition of spall

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small fragment or chip especially of stone


spalled; spalling; spalls

Definition of spall (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

1 : to break off chips, scales, or slabs : exfoliate
2 : to undergo spallation

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Other Words from spall


spallable \ ˈspȯ-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce spallable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for spall

Synonyms: Noun

chip, flake, sliver, splint, splinter

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Examples of spall in a Sentence


found a variety of uses for the spalls left over from their stonecutting operations

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "Is the Black Hole a Glazed Donut? And Other Deep Thoughts About the Universe," 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, "This Bulletproof Curtain Could Protect Students From Gunmen," 8 Mar. 2018 The reports noted that numerous repairs had been made to cracks and spalls in the spillway. Bettina Boxall,, "Water under Oroville spillway probably caused February collapse, state consultants say," 24 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When spalling occurs on the exterior of the concrete, material can break off and fall onto the road below. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "How a 20-minute fire in the fatal I-84 crash ruined a concrete overpass," 22 June 2018 Where the rocks had spalled, the ledges were covered in moss and spiked with twisted red arbutus trees. New York Times, "Sailing Into Today on a Boat From Our Past," 26 Jan. 2018 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, "How to Repair Your Cracked Windshield," 9 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spall


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1758, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for spall


Middle English spalle

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Dictionary Entries near spall







spalling hammer

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Time Traveler for spall

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spall

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spall

Comments on spall

What made you want to look up spall? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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