One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A widespread coniferous tree which has a distinctive conical shape and hanging cones, widely grown for timber, pulp, and Christmas trees.
Genus Picea, family Pinaceae: many species
- ‘This nest is usually in a spruce or other conifer and may be 4'40 feet up.’
- ‘There are few more rewarding experiences than driving a team of huskies through this vast land of mountains, spruce forests and endless silence.’
- ‘Although most species of spruce prefer moist, well drained soils with moderate to good fertility, they will grow on rather sandy soils if there is a favorable water table throughout the growing season.’
- ‘‘I wanted my husband to plant a big spruce so that at Christmas I could decorate it with lights,’ she says.’
- ‘The best trees to plant with wildlife in mind are cherry and mulberry for their fruits, pines and spruces for their seed-bearing cones and deciduous trees that vary in size and density.’
- ‘Before planting either your boxwood or dwarf spruce, select containers that will accommodate these evergreen shrubs up to their mature size.’
Late Middle English (denoting Prussia or something originating in Prussia): alteration of obsolete Pruce ‘Prussia’. The application to the tree dates from the early 17th century.
Neat in dress and appearance.‘he looked as spruce as if he were getting married’
neat, well groomed, well turned out, well dressed, besuited, smart, trim, dapper, elegant, chicView synonyms
- ‘The actor looks much too spruce for someone who is living rough.’
- ‘A very spruce maid welcomed him and showed him into the Bishop's drawing-room.’
- ‘To turn up at County Hall looking dapper and spruce would have been to strike a false, jarring note of misplaced optimism.’
- ‘Just further down the lane were three tiny cottages which always looked spruce in this quiet backwater and their small gardens were bright with flowers.’
- ‘These are the most recently refurbished rooms at the Rubens, so décor is sprucer and fresher than elsewhere in the hotel.’
- ‘‘Why are they doing this work so early in the morning?’ she asked Captain Duro when he appeared on deck looking as spruce and polished as he had on the first day she met him.’
- ‘The track looked sprucer than it has for a long time, " said one Silverstone old timer.’
- ‘In outward appearance, he was a cherubically round man, about 45, in a spruce pinstripe suit and a new blue tie.’
- ‘The place has also recently been restored and so is looking quite spruce.’
verb[with object]spruce someone/something up
Make a person or place smarter or tidier.‘the fund will be used to spruce up historic buildings’
smarten up, make smarter, tidy up, make tidy, make neater, neaten up, put in order, clean upgroom oneself, tidy oneself, smarten oneself up, freshen oneself up, preen oneself, primp oneself, prink oneself, pretty oneself, beautify oneselfView synonyms
- ‘The capital, Palermo, is also being spruced up with EU millions.’
- ‘The city centre has been spruced up in recent years, although to look at the grimy exteriors you wouldn't know it.’
- ‘Spring is here too, traditionally the time when house owners look to spruce up their homes as the days lengthen and the light improves.’
- ‘Replaceable headrest covers were introduced on the company's trains last year as part of a scheme to spruce up the carriages.’
- ‘As a result property developers are moving slowly away from the attractive shore area, sprucing up arterial routes better known for their less-than - salubrious surroundings.’
- ‘Twenty minutes later I saw him looking all spruced up, chirpy and chipper sporting a gold earring in front of me at the Sainsbury check-out.’
- ‘Before the bidding begins, the house will be transformed by a team of designers who will spruce it up and restore some of its 1930s features.’
- ‘The money will be used to spruce up the towns, create jobs and improve transport, as well as providing similar help to surrounding villages.’
- ‘A new plan has been put together to clean up road and railway bridges and shopping centres as part of the council's Street Force initiative to spruce up the city.’
- ‘Since taking over two years ago he has attracted more subscribers and spruced up the marketing campaign.’
- ‘There is no dress code, but as always we spruce ourselves up for the occasion in our best suits.’
- ‘The £10m that he will make from the sale will go towards sprucing up his eight other theatres which include the London Palladium and The Adelphi.’
- ‘Within just a few weeks, York businesses have raised £150,000 towards the initiative to spruce up the city.’
- ‘The 72-year-old's mission to spruce up Warrington Cemetery, where 50,000 people are buried, has been given a £3,000 award from Help the Aged.’
- ‘The existing factory buildings have been spruced up to house exhibition, workshop and office spaces.’
- ‘I've had a haircut to spruce myself up before my sis shows up tomorrow.’
- ‘The company relocated 21 of its smallest stores to bigger outlets in the year and spruced up 135 other shops in a refurbishment programme.’
- ‘A further £200,000 will be spent sprucing up the city's war memorials and a plaque will be put up by the Cenotaph - listing, for the first time, soldiers killed on active duty since the Second World War.’
- ‘Part of the money will be spent on sprucing up areas used by the public, including car parks, picnic sites and paths.’
- ‘The council has adopted a 12-month strategy aimed at sprucing up the city's streets.’
Late 16th century: perhaps from spruce in the obsolete sense ‘Prussian’, in the phrase spruce (leather) jerkin.
1Engage in pretense or deception, especially by feigning illness.‘he's no fool; he'd have known if she was sprucing’
- 1.1with object Deceive.‘they spruced you’
- 1.1with object Deceive.
Early 20th century: of unknown origin.
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