springer (n.)
"one who or that which leaps," mid-14c. (late 12c. as a surname), agent noun from spring (v.). As a type of spaniel, 1808, so called from being used originally to rouse (that is, to "spring") game.
type of firearm, 1813, named for the U.S. government armory in Springfield, Mass.
springtime (n.)
also spring-time, late 15c., from spring (n.1) + time (n.).
springy (adj.)
"elastic," 1650s, from spring (v.) + -y (2). Related: Springiness.
sprinkle (v.)
late 14c. (implied in sprinkled), frequentative of sprenge (see spring (v.)) or via Middle Dutch, Middle Low German sprenkel "spot, speck," from PIE root *(s)preg- "to jerk, scatter" (source also of Latin spargere "to scatter, sprinkle"). The meaning "rain lightly" is first recorded 1778.
sprinkler (n.)
1530s, agent noun from sprinkle (v.).
sprinkling (n.)
mid-15c., "act of sprinkling," verbal noun from sprinkle (v.). Meaning "small amount" is from 1590s.
sprint (n.)
"short burst of running, etc.," 1865, from sprint (v.).
sprint (v.)
1560s, "to spring, dart," probably an alteration of sprenten "to leap, spring" (early 14c.), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse spretta "to jump up" (cognate with Swedish spritta "to start, startle"). Meaning "to run a short distance at full speed" first recorded 1871. Related: Sprinted; sprinting.
sprinter (n.)
1871, agent noun from sprint (v.).
sprit (n.)
Old English spreot "pole, pike, spear," originally "a sprout, shoot, branch," from Proto-Germanic *sprut- (see sprout (v.)). Cognate with Middle Dutch spriet, Middle Low German spryet, German Spriet, North Frisian sprit. Restricted nautical sense of "diagonal spar from a mast" is from 14c. Related: Spritsail.
sprite (n.)
c. 1300, "Holy Ghost," from Old French esprit "spirit," from Latin spiritus (see spirit (n.)). From mid-14c. as "immaterial being; angel, demon, elf, fairy; apparition, ghost."
spritz (v.)
1917, from Yiddish or directly from German spritzen "to squirt," from Middle High German sprützen "to squirt, sprout," from Proto-Germanic *sprut- (see sprout (v.)). Spritzer "glass of wine mixed with carbonated water" is from 1961.
sprocket (n.)
1530s, originally a carpenters' word for a piece of timber used in framing, of unknown origin. The meaning "projection from the rim of a wheel that engages the links of a chain" is first recorded 1750.
sprout (n.)
"shoot of a plant, sprout; a twig," Old English sprota, from the verb (see sprout (v.)). Cognate with Middle Dutch spruyte, Dutch spruite "a sprout," Old Norse sproti, German Sproß.
sprout (v.)
Old English -sprutan (in asprutan "to sprout"), from Proto-Germanic *sprut- (source also of Old Saxon sprutan, Old Frisian spruta, Middle Dutch spruten, Old High German spriozan, German sprießen "to sprout"), from PIE *spreud-, extended form of root *sper- (4) "to strew" (source also of Greek speirein "to scatter," spora "a scattering, sowing," sperma "sperm, seed," literally "that which is scattered;" Old English spreawlian "to sprawl," sprædan "to spread," spreot "pole;" Armenian sprem "scatter;" Old Lithuanian sprainas "staring, opening wide one's eyes;" Lettish spriežu "I span, I measure"). Related: Sprouted; sprouting.
spruce (n.)
1660s, "evergreen tree, fir," from spruse (adj.) "made of spruce wood" (early 15c.), literally "from Prussia," from Spruce, Sprws (late 14c.), unexplained alterations of Pruce "Prussia," from an Old French form of Prussia.

Spruce seems to have been a generic term for commodities brought to England by Hanseatic merchants (especially beer, boards and wooden chests, and leather), and the tree thus was believed to be particular to Prussia, which for a time was figurative in England as a land of luxuries. Compare spruce (adj.).

As a distinct species of evergreen tree from 1731. Nearly all pines have long, soft needles growing in groups of two (Scotch) to five (white); spruce and fir needles grow singly. Spruce needles are squarish and sharp; fir needles are short and flat. Cones of the fir stand upright; cones of a spruce hang before falling.
spruce (v.)
"to make trim or neat," 1590s, from spruce (adj.). Related: Spruced; sprucing.
spruce (adj.)
"neat, smart in dress and appearance, dapper, brisk," 1580s, from spruce leather (mid-15c.; see spruce (n.)), a type of leather imported from Prussia in the 1400s and 1500s which was used in England to make a popular style of jerkin that was considered smart-looking.
sprucify (v.)
1610s, from spruce (adj.) + -ify. Related: Sprucified.
sprue (n.)
"piece of metal (later plastic) attached to a cast object," 1875, earlier (1849) "channel through which metal is poured into a mold;" of unknown origin.
spruik (v.)
1916, Australia and New Zealand slang, of unknown origin.
past participle of spring (v.).
spry (adj.)
1746, "active, nimble, vigorous, lively," dialectal, perhaps a shortening and alteration of sprightly [Barnhart], or from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse sprækr, dialectal Swedish sprygg "brisk, active"), from Proto-Germanic *sprek-, from PIE root *(s)preg- (2) "to jerk, scatter" (see sparse).
spud (n.)
mid-15c., "small or poor knife," of uncertain origin probably related to Danish spyd, Old Norse spjot "spear," German Spiess "spear, lance"). Meaning "spade" is from 1660s; sense of "short or stumpy person or thing" is from 1680s; that of "potato" is first recorded 1845 in New Zealand English.
spue (v.)
variant of spew (v.).
spumante (n.)
sparkling white wine from Asti in Piedmont, 1908, from Italian spumante, literally "sparkling," from spuma "foam, froth" (see spume).
spume (n.)
late 14c., from Old French spume, from Latin spuma "foam" (also source of Italian spuma, Spanish espuma); cognate with Old English fam, Old High German veim "foam" (see foam (n.)).
spumescent (adj.)
"foaming, frothing," 1856, from Latin spumescentem (nominative spumescens), present participle of spumescere "grow frothy," from spuma (see spume) + inchoative suffix -escere.
spumoni (n.)
kind of ice cream dessert, 1929, from Italian spumone (singular), spumoni (plural), from spuma "foam" (see spume).
past participle of spin (v.).
spunk (n.)
1530s, "a spark," Scottish, from Gaelic spong "tinder, pith, sponge," from Latin spongia (see sponge (n.)). The sense of "courage, pluck, mettle" is first attested 1773. A similar sense evolution took place in cognate Irish sponnc "sponge, tinder, spark; courage, spunk." Vulgar slang sense of "seminal fluid" is recorded from c. 1888.
spunky (adj.)
"courageous, spirited," 1786, from spunk (n.) + -y (2). Related: Spunkily; spunkiness.
spur (v.)
c. 1200, from spur (n.). Figurative use from c. 1500. Related: Spurred; spurring. Old English had spyrian, but it meant "follow the track of, track down, investigate."
spur (n.)
Old English spura, spora "metal implement worn on the heel to goad a horse" (related to spurnan "to kick"), from Proto-Germanic *spuron (source also of Old Norse spori, Middle Dutch spore, Dutch spoor, Old High German sporo, German Sporn "spur"), from PIE *spere- "ankle" (see spurn). Related to Dutch spoor, Old English spor "track, footprint, trace."

Generalized sense of "anything that urges on, stimulus," is from late 14c. As a sharp projection on the leg of a cock, from 1540s. Meaning "a ridge projecting off a mountain mass" is recorded from 1650s. Of railway lines from 1837. "Widely extended senses ... are characteristic of a horsey race" [Weekley]. Expression on the spur of the moment (1801) preserves archaic phrase on the spur "in great haste" (1520s). To win one's spurs is to gain knighthood by some valorous act, gilded spurs being the distinctive mark of a knight.
spurge (n.)
plant species, late 14c., from Old French espurge, from espurgier "to purge" (transitive and intransitive), from Latin expurgare, from ex "out" (see ex-) + purgare "to purge" (see purge (v.)). So called from the purgative and emetic properties of the plant's root.
spurious (adj.)
1590s, "born out of wedlock," from Latin spurius "illegitimate, false" (source also of Italian spurio, Spanish espurio), from spurius (n.) "illegitimate child," probably from Etruscan spural "public." Sense of "having an irregular origin, not properly constituted" is from c. 1600; that of "false, sham" is from 1610s; of writing, etc., "not proceeding from the source pretended, 1620s. Related: Spuriously; spuriousness.
spurn (v.)
Old English spurnan "to kick (away), strike against; reject, scorn, despise," from Proto-Germanic *spurnon (source also of Old Saxon and Old High German spurnan, Old Frisian spurna, Old Norse sporna "to kick, drive away with the feet"), from PIE root *spere- "ankle" (source also of Middle Dutch spoor "track of an animal," Greek sphyron "ankle," Latin spernere "to reject, spurn," Sanskrit sphurati "kicks," Middle Irish seir "heel"). Related: Spurned; spurning.
spurt (v.)
"to gush out, squirt," 1560s, variant of spirt, perhaps cognate with Middle High German spürzen "to spit," and sprützen "to squirt" (see sprout (v.)). Related: Spurted; spurting. The noun in this sense is attested from 1775.
spurt (n.)
"brief burst of activity," 1560s, variant of spirt "brief period of time" (1540s), of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow connected with spurt (v.).
sputnik (n.)
"artificial satellite," extended from the name of the one launched by the Soviet Union Oct. 4, 1957, from Russian sputnik "satellite," literally "traveling companion" (in this use short for sputnik zemlyi, "traveling companion of the Earth") from Old Church Slavonic supotiniku, from Russian so-, s- "with, together" + put' "path, way," from Old Church Slavonic poti, from PIE *pent- "to tread, go" (see find (v.)) + agent suffix -nik.

The electrifying impact of the launch on the West can be gauged by the number of new formations in -nik around this time (the suffix had been present in a Yiddish context for at least a decade before); Laika, the stray dog launched aboard Sputnik 2 (Nov. 2, 1957), which was dubbed muttnik in the "Detroit Free Press," etc. The rival U.S. satellite which failed to reach orbit in 1957 (because the Vanguard rocket blew up on the launch pad) derided as a kaputnik (in the "Daytona Beach Morning Journal"), a dudnik ("Christian Science Monitor"), a flopnik ("Youngstown Vindicator," "New York Times"), a pffftnik ("National Review"), and a stayputnik ("Vancouver Sun").
sputter (v.)
1590s, "to spit with explosive sounds," cognate with Dutch sputteren, West Frisian sputterje, from Proto-Germanic *sput- (see spout (v.)). Related: Sputtered; sputtering. The noun is attested from 1670s.
sputum (n.)
1690s, from Latin sputum, noun use of neuter past participle of spuere "to spit" (see spew (v.)).
spy (n.)
mid-13c., "one who spies on another," from Old French espie "spy, look-out, scout" (Modern French épie), probably from a Germanic source related to spy (v.).
spy (v.)
mid-13c., "to watch stealthily," from Old French espiier "observe, watch closely, spy on, find out," probably from Frankish *spehon or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *spehon- (source also of Old High German *spehon "to look out for, scout, spy," German spähen "to spy," Middle Dutch spien), the Germanic survivals of the productive PIE root *spek- "to observe." Old English had spyrian "make a track, go, pursue; ask about, investigate," also a noun spyrigend "investigator, inquirer." Italian spiare, Spanish espiar also are Germanic loan-words. Meaning "to catch sight of" is from c. 1300. Children's game I spy so called by 1946.
spyglass (n.)
also spy-glass, "telescope, field-glass," 1706, from spy (v.) + glass (n.). Spying-glass is from 1680s.
spyware (n.)
by 2000, from spy + ending from software in the computer sense.
squab (n.)
1680s, "very young bird," earlier (1630s) "unformed, lumpish person" and used at various times for any sort of flabby mass, such as sofa cushions; probably from a Scandinavian word (compare dialectal Swedish skvabb "loose or fat flesh," skvabba "fat woman"), from Proto-Germanic *(s)kwab-. Klein lists cognates in Old Prussian gawabo "toad," Old Church Slavonic zaba "frog."
squabble (n.)
c. 1600, probably from a Scandinavian source and of imitative origin (compare dialectal Swedish skvabbel "a quarrel, a dispute," dialectal German schwabbeln "to babble, prattle"). The verb also is from c. 1600. Related: Squabbled; squabbling.
squad (n.)
1640s, "small number of military men detailed for some purpose," from French esquade, from Middle French escadre, from Spanish escuadra or Italian squadra "battalion," literally "square," from Vulgar Latin *exquadra "to square," from Latin ex "out" (see ex-) + quadrare "make square," from quadrus "a square" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four"). Before the widespread use of of automatic weapons, infantry troops tended to fight in a square formation to repel cavalry or superior forces. Extended to sports 1902, police work 1905.