Middle English Dictionary Entry

spōre n.(2)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) A spur, consisting of either a single spiked projection or a spiked wheel attached to a rider's heel; the spur as a means of urging on a horse; also fig.; paire (of, de) spores; ~ bende, ?the strap or band of a spur; (b) in phrases: at the ~, fig. at full speed; fresh to the ~, of a horse: ?responsive to the rider's spur; kiken ayen the ~, fig. to resist somebody or his authority; seuen nouther ~ no bridel, of a horse: be controlled by neither spur nor bridle; smiten (taken) with ~, smiten mid spores, smiten (priken, striken, etc.) with spores, touchen mid ~, spur (a horse, mule); sparen spores, ride slowly; speden at the spores, ride hard; (c) spurs as a badge of knighthood; gilt spores, gilded spurs; also, by synecdoche: knights [quot. a1450-1509]; winnen spores, to live up to or succeed in knightly obligations; (d) a representation of a spur in a heraldic charge; (e) pleien at the ~, ?to play some sort of martial game; (f) ~ of love, the title of a verse translation of St. Edmund's Speculum Ecclesie.
2.
(a) The pointed projection or process on the back of the leg of a fowl, esp. a cock; ?a claw [1st quot.]; also, an ornamental representation of a spur of a pheasant cock; (b) a short wooden strut or brace; (c) fot ~, a support or rest for the feet of a representation of Christ on a crucifix, corresponding to L suppedaneum or scabellum.
3.
(a) In surnames; (b) in place names [see Smith PN Elem.2.139].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1425 Wycl.Serm.(Bod 788)2.224 : Þis mete is an ale spore to stire hem for to drinke.
  • Note: New combination: ale ~, a stimulant provoking a thirst for ale.--per MLL