"weapon with a penetrating head and a long wooden shaft, meant to be thrust or thrown," Old English spere "spear, javelin, lance," from Proto-Germanic *speri (source also of Old Norse spjör, Old Saxon, Old Frisian sper, Dutch speer, Old High German sper, German Speer "spear"), from PIE root *sper- (1) "spear, pole" (source also of Old Norse sparri "spar, rafter," and perhaps also Latin sparus "hunting spear").
"sprout of a plant," 1640s, earlier "church spire" (c. 1500); variant of spire (n.).
1755, from spear (n.1). Related: Speared; spearing.
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