1 : affected with swelling
2 : old and decrepit : over-the-hill
Did You Know?
"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 In the 17th century, "spavined" horses brought to mind other things that are obsolete, out-of-date, or long past their prime, and we began using the adjective figuratively.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.
The team is sadly spavined, and the new coaching staff will have to look to rebuild over the next couple of seasons.
"Large and medium-sized canvases in varying stages of completion covered most of the wall space in the studio, a long, windowless room that was once an auto-body shop, and the floor was a palimpsest of rags, used paper palettes, brushes, spavined art books, … and other debris." — Calvin Tomkins and Dodie Kazanjian, The New Yorker, 10 Apr. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of spavined meaning "swollen": MCETNTSEU.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP