spear

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
: a thrusting or throwing weapon with long shaft and sharp head or blade
2
: a sharp-pointed instrument with barbs used in spearing fish
3

spear

2 of 5

verb (1)

speared; spearing; spears

transitive verb

1
: to pierce, strike, or take with or as if with a spear
spear salmon
speared a chop from the platter
2
: to catch (something, such as a baseball) with a sudden thrust of the arm
3
a
ice hockey : to jab (an opposing player) with the blade of one's stick
All game, the Caps held, hooked, slashed, speared, chopped, and bopped … the Rangers' European players.Stu Hackel
b
American football : to ram (an opposing player) with one's helmet
… defensive end Ben Davidson set off a sidelines-clearing scrum when he speared Dawson from behind after he was down.Jim Trotter

intransitive verb

: to thrust at or wound something with or as if with a spear
spearer noun

spear

3 of 5

adjective

: paternal sense 3
the spear side of the family
compare distaff

spear

4 of 5

verb (2)

speared; spearing; spears

intransitive verb

of a plant
: to thrust a spear upward

spear

5 of 5

noun (2)

: a usually young blade, shoot, or sprout (as of grass)

Examples of spear in a Sentence

Noun (1) the Roman gladiator thrust his spear triumphantly into the lion's side Verb (1) she speared a pea with her fork and angrily flung it
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
After a too-brief stay at Vermelho, my luggage-friendly Rover SV is spearing past the vineyards of the scrappy Alentejo wine region, and blurring the bark-regenerating cork oaks that provide stoppers for the world’s wine industry. Lawrence Ulrich, Robb Report, 20 Feb. 2024 Surely not spear one ravioli, nibble off half from the fork and then, after swallowing, take the final bite. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, 15 Jan. 2024 See all Example Sentences for spear 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English spere, from Old English; akin to Old High German sper spear, Latin sparus hunting spear

Noun (2) and Verb (2)

alteration of spire entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1861, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1573, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1647, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spear was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near spear

Cite this Entry

“Spear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spear. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

spear

1 of 3 noun
1
: a weapon with a long straight handle and sharp head or blade used for throwing or jabbing
2
: an instrument with a sharp point and curved hooks used in spearing fish
3

spear

2 of 3 verb
: to pierce or strike with or as if with a spear
spearer noun

spear

3 of 3 noun
: a usually young blade, shoot, or sprout (as of grass)

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