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ˈspu̇r How to pronounce spoor (audio)
plural spoor or spoors
: a track, a trail, a scent, or droppings especially of a wild animal
: a trace by which the progress of someone or something may be followed


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spoored; spooring; spoors

transitive verb

: to track by a spoor

intransitive verb

: to track something by its spoor

Examples of spoor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
On Twitter, people speak scoffingly of canceling themselves, as a joke or a pre-emptive measure, since presumably any of us could be canceled at any time, living in our glass Instagrams, leaving a spoor of digitized gaffes behind us. New York Times, 3 Dec. 2020 Snow had fallen less than an hour ago, and this spoor is on top of it. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, 17 Jan. 2020 The previous method used spoor (paw prints, also called pugmarks, and scat), which often led to the same animal being counted multiple times. National Geographic, 20 Apr. 2016 On top goes chaat masala, a collage of spices haunted by the smoky spoor of black salt; amchur, tart green mango powder; and asafetida, with its faint evocation of meat. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 25 Nov. 2016

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

Word History



Afrikaans, from Dutch; akin to Old English spor footprint, spoor, spurnan to kick — more at spurn entry 1

First Known Use


1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1850, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of spoor was in 1823

Dictionary Entries Near spoor

Cite this Entry

“Spoor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoor. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a track, a trail, a scent, or droppings especially of a wild animal

More from Merriam-Webster on spoor

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