spav·​ined | \ ˈspa-vənd How to pronounce spavined (audio) \

Definition of spavined

1 : affected with spavin
2 : old and decrepit : over-the-hill

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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 In the 17th century, "spavined" horses brought to mind other things that are obsolete, out-of-date, or long past their prime, and we began using the adjective figuratively.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.

Examples of spavined in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Theresa May and her spavined colleagues would be responsible for that distrust, but life is unfair and Boris would carry the can. John O'sullivan, National Review, 9 July 2019 The series took a chunk out of both the recklessness of the Texas state government and out of the spavined state of the EPA and OSHA even under President Obama, the latter problems having gotten worse under the current administration. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 31 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of spavined

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Cite this Entry

“Spavined.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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