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February 5, 2018

Word of the Day: Spavined

1 CQ

Word of the Day : February 5, 2018

spavined \SPAV-ind\ adjective


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 In the 17th century, "spavined" horses brought to mind other things that are obsolete, out-of-date, or long past their prime, and we began using the adjective figuratively.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

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Aired February 5, 2018

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