Etymology
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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.

updated on November 13, 2013

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Definitions of sprit from WordNet

sprit (n.)
a light spar that crosses a fore-and-aft sail diagonally;
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.