spruce


spruce
Spruce ‘neat’ [16] and spruce the tree [17] are completely different words, of course, but they could have a common origin – in Spruce, the old English name for Prussia. Spruce the tree was originally the spruce fir, literally the ‘Prussian fir’. And it is thought that the adjective spruce may have come from the expression spruce leather ‘Prussian leather’, which denoted a particularly fine sort of leather, used for making jackets. The word itself is an unexplained alteration of Pruce ‘Prussia’, which was acquired via Old French from medieval Latin Prussia. => PRUSSIA

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spruce — (spr[udd]s), n. [OE. Spruce or Pruse, Prussia, Prussian. So named because it was first known as a native of Prussia, or because its sprouts were used for making, spruce beer. Cf. Spruce beer, below, {Spruce}, a.] 1. (Bot.) Any coniferous tree of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spruce — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Richard Spruce (1817–1893), englischer Botaniker und Naturforscher Spruce bezeichnet folgende Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten Spruce (Michigan) Spruce (Nevada) Spruce (Wisconsin) Spruce Island, Insel des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • spruce — ● spruce nom masculin (anglais spruce, sapin) Bois de certains épicéas d Amérique du Nord. ⇒SPRUCE, subst. masc. BOT. Épicéa d Amérique du Nord. Des pins rachitiques, de l espèce appelée spruce par les Anglais (CHATEAUBR., Mél. littér., 1826, p.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Spruce — (spr[udd]s), a. [Compar. {Sprucer} (spr[udd] s[ e]r); superl. {Sprucest} (spr[udd] s[e^]st).] [Perhaps fr. spruce a sort of leather from Prussia, which was an article of finery. See {Spruce}, n.] 1. Neat, without elegance or dignity; smart; trim; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spruce — ‘neat’ [16] and spruce the tree [17] are completely different words, of course, but they could have a common origin – in Spruce, the old English name for Prussia. Spruce the tree was originally the spruce fir, literally the ‘Prussian fir’. And it …   Word origins

  • spruce — Ⅰ. spruce [1] ► ADJECTIVE ▪ neat and smart. ► VERB (spruce up) ▪ make smarter. ORIGIN perhaps from SPRUCE(Cf. ↑spruce) in the obsolete sense Prussian , in the phrase spruce leather jerkin. Ⅱ …   English terms dictionary

  • spruce — spruce1 [spro͞os] n. [ME Spruce, for Pruce, Prussia < OFr < ML Prussia: prob. because the tree was first known as a native of Prussia] 1. any of a genus (Picea) of evergreen trees of the pine family, having slender needles that are rhombic… …   English World dictionary

  • Spruce — Spruce, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spruced} (spr[udd]st); p. pr. & vb. n. {Sprucing} (spr[udd] s[i^]ng).] To dress with affected neatness; to trim; to make spruce; often used with up; as, to spruce up the house for Company. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spruce — Spruce, v. i. To dress one s self with affected neatness; as, to spruce up. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spruce up — (someone/something) to improve the appearance of someone or something. She needed to spruce up her image so she bought tons of new clothes and got a great new hairstyle. The city has to spruce itself up for the Olympics next year …   New idioms dictionary


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