spavined was our Word of the Day on 08/17/2008. Hear the podcast!
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His horse [is] . . . troubled with the lampas, infected with the fashions, full of windgalls, sped with spavins. . . . Petruchio's poor, decrepit horse in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew is beset by just about every known equine malady, including a kind of swelling in the mouth (lampas), skin lesions (fashions), tumors on his fetlocks (windgalls), and bony enlargements on his hocks (spavins). The spavins alone can be enough to render a horse lame and useless. In the 17th century, "spavined" horses brought to mind other things that are obsolete, out-of-date, or long past their prime, and we began using the adjective figuratively. "Spavined" still serves a purpose, despite its age. It originated in Middle English as "spaveyned" and can be traced to the Middle French word for "spavin," which was "espavain."
First Known Use of spavined
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