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† sprent, n.2

Forms:  ME–19 sprent, 16 sprend (Scottish). (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by conversion. Etymon: sprent v.
Etymology: < sprent v.
Compare sprint n.1, sprint n.2, sprunt n.1  
Much earlier currency of sense 2c   is probably implied by sprint n.1 1.
Compare Old Icelandic sprettr a spurt, spring, bound, run, Norwegian sprett a splash, spatter, a jerk, a jump.
Obsolete (chiefly English regional (northern) and Scottish).

 a. A sprinkler for holy water. rare.

c1400   in J. R. Boyle Early Hist. Town & Port of Hedon (1895) App. p. cxx   Pro factura..iij. sprentes et j. kilpe pro le haliwater.

c1400—c1400(Hide quotations)


 b. Chiefly English regional (northern). A spot, mark, or stain as caused by a liquid being splashed or sprinkled. Cf. sprent v. 2b.In quot. 1860: a small droplet or splash; perhaps influenced by sprent adj. 1b.

1828   W. Carr Dial. Craven (ed. 2)    Sprent, a stain, a spot of dirt.
1860   ‘H. Lee’ Legends Fairy Land 1   This gossamer was finer than any spider's web, and all over it were sprents of dew.
1883   J. F. Keane On Blue-Water xi. 149   There was a pink mark on the wall, and sprents like paint all round it.
1928   A. E. Pease Dict. Dial. N. Riding Yorks. 125/2   Sprent, the mark or stain left by sprinkling or spurting.

1828—1928(Hide quotations)

 2. Any of various devices which spring or move suddenly. Cf. sprent v. 1.

 a. A hinged or sprung clasp or hasp on a door, chest, etc., which may be secured by a bolt or by turning a key in a lock, and which springs open when unlocked.Earliest in figurative context.

c1500   in Speculum (1954) 29 716 (MED)   Of my hert þat was þe sikir rent Wote I nocht quhy he brokyn hath þe sprent, And of þe lok hath born away the kay.
1561–2   in R. Adam Edinb. Rec. (1899) II. 158   To ane masoun for leid to the cruik, making of the hoillis of the samyn, and sprent of the lok, ij s. iiij d.
1591   Edinb. Dean of Guild Accts. 437 in Dict. Older. Sc. Tongue at Sprent   For mending the sprent off the auld gyle buke.
1644   in Trans. Antiq. Soc. Scot. (1792) 1 174   A key and sprent band.
1698   D. Hume Punishment of Crimes (1797) II. App. 569   A pinn for opening of snecks and lifting of sprents.
1836   R. Weston Visit to U.S. & Canada iv. 143   The sprent of my trunk having broke, I was charged one shilling for rivetting it.
1845   T. Brown Dict. Sc. Lang. 128   Sprent, The iron clasp of a trunk lock.
1855   F. K. Robinson Gloss. Yorks. Words 165   Sprent, the staple-catch of a trunk-lid, which goes into the key-hole to be fastened by the bolt of the lock.
1875   W. Welsh Poet. & Prose Wks. 67   Open that auld kist wi' the sprent.

c1500—1875(Hide quotations)


 b. A spring or similar component forming part of a mechanism. Also figurative.

1511   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1902) IV. 276   For expens maid..one the said organis..in naillis and sprentis of irne.
1617   in J. Imrie & J. G. Dunbar Accts. Master of Wks. (1982) II. 327   For ane sprent to the bell iiii s.
1621   Rec. Perth Kirk Session 16 July in Dict. Older Sc. Tongue at Sprent   The sessioun ordenis David Sibbald..to caus mend the sprent of ane of the hammeris of the halfe houre bellis.
1621   Ld. Dunfermline in G. Seton Mem. (1882) 130   I find me now far remoued from the springs or sprentis that mouis all the resortis off our gouerment.
1808   J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. (at cited word)   The back sprent of a clasping knife.
1868   J. C. Atkinson Gloss. Cleveland Dial.   Sprent..A spring; such..as that at the back of a pocket-knife.

1511—1868(Hide quotations)


 c. English regional (northern). A snare of a sort used for catching birds; = sprint n.1 1.

1822   Lonsdale Mag. 3 13   Catching partridges and woodcocks in sprents.
1878   W. Dickinson Gloss. Words & Phrases Cumberland (ed. 2) 93/1   Sprint, Sprent, a snare for game birds.

1822—1878(Hide quotations)


 a. A quick or sudden movement; a jump, a spring; a start. Also: a short burst of effort. Cf. sprint n.2 1.

a1522   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid (1960) xi. xiv. l. 68   The serpent..In lowpyt thrawys wrythis with mony a sprent.
1615   P. Gordon Penardo & Laissa i. viii. sig. Eviii   When he slakt the rayns his loftie sprents Wold..tipp the trembling earth with houes.
a1832   Secret Songs Silence (Buchan) in M. Shoolbraid High-kilted Muse (2010) 66   He gat frae them wi' a sprent, And fast awa' he ran.
1887   T. Darlington Folk-speech S. Cheshire 367   Sprent, a sudden start or spring. ‘We went'n soakin' alung for a tooathry mile, an' then th' pony gen a sprent aw of a sudden.’
1887   T. Darlington Folk-speech S. Cheshire 367   We mun make a sprent, an' get the work done.

a1522—1887(Hide quotations)


 b. Scottish. Vigour or liveliness of movement; elasticity; spring. rare.

1710   T. Ruddiman in G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneis (new ed.) Gloss. (at cited word)   We use the word sprent, for the spring, or elastick force of any thing.

1710—1710(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, March 2019).

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