Definition of spear in English:



  • 1A weapon with a pointed tip, typically of steel, and a long shaft, used for thrusting or throwing.

    • ‘Their traditional hunting weapons were spears and blow guns.’
    • ‘It is said that every child born to the Karstarks is taught how to handle a sword before the age of ten and to throw a spear before the age of twelve.’
    • ‘They were poised to throw their spears and javelins but I had a sudden impulse to stop them.’
    • ‘The thrusting spear tended to have a stronger, fairly broad leaf or lozenge shaped head with a central ridge for strength.’
    • ‘Their curved long swords, spears and bows, were all finely crafted weapons.’
    • ‘Thrown spears are probably the first weapons to arrive amongst the opposing side, other than shouted insults.’
    • ‘They were trained in the use of numerous weapons, especially swords and spears.’
    • ‘A week later, a larger party of some 200 Maori appeared, this time with spears slung over their backs, and muskets and tomahawks.’
    • ‘They had machetes, knives, spears and bows and arrows.’
    • ‘The Knights had never needed any kind of weapon beyond their swords and spears and bows.’
    • ‘The spear was the commonest weapon with an iron blade on a wooden shaft, often of ash and 2 to 3m in length.’
    • ‘Swords, spears, bows and arrows and many other weapons were being made in full force.’
    • ‘Soon, scuffles broke out, spears were thrown, and muskets discharged.’
    • ‘Staffs, swords, daggers and spears sat neatly in the crate.’
    • ‘Yesterday spears were the weapon of choice in the North Rift; today they are being replaced by the Kalashnikov and rocket-fired grenade.’
    • ‘There were bows, swords, spears, and any other weapon of all shapes and sizes, but there were no guns.’
    • ‘Then they engaged in hand to hand fighting, bayonet against spears and swords.’
    • ‘This movie is just men with swords, arrows, spears and guns.’
    • ‘This spear, or javelin if it was thrown, was used to keep enemies at bay, and also as a missile weapon to wreak havoc among the ranks of their enemies.’
    • ‘Swords, spears, and other weapons of obvious value stuck out of the mounds at odd angles.’
    blade, knife, sword, spear, lance, pike, javelin, shaft, harpoon
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    1. 1.1 An instrument with a long shaft and a barbed tip used for catching fish.
      • ‘One of the traditional fishing methods in the Kavango includes fishing with spears.’
      • ‘With a quick snap the spear came down and caught a fish in the sharpened barbs that Erik cut into it.’
      • ‘Fish, especially Arctic char were caught in weirs and traps and taken using fish spears.’
      • ‘The Ojibwa fished throughout the year, using hooks, nets, spears, and traps.’
      • ‘On the walls were fish netting with an assortment of fishing equipment, including a fishing spear.’
      • ‘They employed several methods for catching fish, including nets, traps, and spears.’
      • ‘Whaling in Korea dates back to the prehistoric era, as is evidenced by rock carvings, as well as bones and fishing spears found in Ulsan that are 5,000 years old.’
    2. 1.2archaic A spearman.
  • 2A plant shoot, especially a pointed stem of asparagus or broccoli.

    ‘smoked salmon wrapped around asparagus spears’
    • ‘Snap the asparagus at its natural breaking point, by holding the spear in both hands and snapping like a twig.’
    • ‘Place one asparagus spear on each pasta square so the tips extend outside the pasta.’
    • ‘Arrange some fried artichoke chips and some asparagus spears around the dish and garnish with tarragon.’
    • ‘My father is still picking stray asparagus spears from a commercial asparagus patch that was planted when he was a boy, and, that was a long time ago!’
    • ‘People always want to know if my children are good eaters, or if a spear of broccoli reduces them to tears.’
    • ‘Kate orders a poached salmon with asparagus spears and a shrimp salad.’
    • ‘Use thick asparagus spears, trimming tough ends and peeling the bottom half of stalk.’
    • ‘To steam asparagus spears, snap off and discard woody bases from fresh asparagus.’
    • ‘Deb emerged from her cubicle, and shyly asked Gil's permission to eat two Portobello mushrooms and a spear of asparagus for dinner.’
    • ‘Place a whole asparagus spear in the center of the salad.’
    • ‘Above and below the fava beans I've placed asparagus spears.’
    • ‘Dredge each asparagus spear in flour and pat off excess, then dredge in batter.’
    • ‘Grilled asparagus spears and a delicious, thin-layered potato gratin were the ideal go-alongs.’
    • ‘The appearance of thin, young asparagus spears in the market is a sure-fire sign of spring.’
    • ‘It was the very first month of English asparagus season and I asked where these spears, which had no flavour at all, had come from.’
    • ‘Place three asparagus spears in the center of a plate.’
    sprout, offshoot, scion, sucker, bud, runner, tendril, sprig, cutting
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  • Pierce or strike with a spear or other pointed object.

    ‘she speared her last chip with her fork’
    • ‘Tom was the first to act; he ran straight at one individual guard and speared him onto the ground.’
    • ‘Since the late '70s, and the fashion upheaval wrought by punk rock, people have been spearing the little metal pins through their ears or leather jackets.’
    • ‘She defiantly speared the last sausage on her plate and began to cut it up when a black, hairy nose appeared in her lap from under the tablecloth.’
    • ‘She picked up the fork and speared a mushroom on it.’
    • ‘He has speared one of the sardines with the quill and is spinning it back and forth, spraying sardine oil.’
    • ‘So, moving without being asked, Josh speared the end of the slice and brought it to Rob's lips.’
    • ‘The Aborigines would then spear cattle for food and a cycle of violence might follow.’
    • ‘Then, with a lucky stab, Johnny speared the snake with the frog gig, just behind its neck.’
    • ‘He speared two bits of potato and dropped them beside his roll of ham.’
    • ‘She tossed lettuce around in her salad and was preparing to spear a piece to her fork when the waitress bought their entrées.’
    • ‘Without moving his lower body at all, he bent slightly and speared it through the middle.’
    • ‘About 15 miles from here, on July 13, 2002, a lightning bolt shot down from a summer thunderstorm, spearing a mountaintop grove.’
    • ‘His foot and leg injury cause him to limp as he sprints toward Spike and spears him to the ground.’
    • ‘Chic women in Gucci sunglasses and high heels used toothpicks to spear their next mouthful with precision, others just grabbed chunks off display plates with their fingers.’
    • ‘Queequeg spears a male on the outer rim of the crowd.’
    • ‘She was spearing a spinach leaf.’
    • ‘Prince William raised a public outcry in England over the weekend when he speared a wild antelope on an African holiday.’
    • ‘She nodded again, spearing a piece of sausage with her fork.’
    • ‘From time to time when Lily speared a piece of French toast, she tapped her fork on the edge of her plate to shake loose the extra sugar.’
    • ‘T-Boy cut into the French toast and speared another piece.’
    pierce, puncture, make a hole in, put a hole in, stab, perforate, rupture, riddle, penetrate, nick, slit, incise, knife, bore, spike, skewer, spit, stick, punch, pin, needle, jag, jab
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  • the spear side


Old English spere, of Germanic origin; compare with Dutch speer and German Speer.