There are 3 main definitions of spruce in English:

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spruce1

Syllabification: spruce
Pronunciation: /spro͞os
 
/

noun

A widespread coniferous tree that has a distinctive conical shape and hanging cones, widely grown for timber, pulp, and Christmas trees.
  • Genus Picea, family Pinaceae: many species
Example sentences
  • The best trees to plant with wildlife in mind are cherry and mulberry for their fruits, pines and spruces for their seed-bearing cones and deciduous trees that vary in size and density.
  • This nest is usually in a spruce or other conifer and may be 4'40 feet up.
  • ‘I wanted my husband to plant a big spruce so that at Christmas I could decorate it with lights,’ she says.

Origin

late Middle English (denoting Prussia or something originating in Prussia): alteration of obsolete Pruce 'Prussia.' The application to the tree dates from the early 17th century.

More
  • Prussia was a former kingdom that covered much of modern northeast Germany and Poland. Between the 14th and 17th centuries it was also known in English as both Pruce and Spruce, and these words could also be used to mean ‘Prussian’. Spruce was in time used as the name of a type of fir tree grown in Prussia. It was also used in the phrase spruce leather, a fashionable type of leather imported in the 16th century from Prussia and used especially for jerkins. It is probably from this that the sense ‘neat or smart in dress or appearance’ developed.

Definition of spruce in:

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There are 3 main definitions of spruce in English:

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spruce2

Syllabification: spruce
Pronunciation: /spro͞os
 
/

adjective

Neat in dress and appearance: he looked as spruce as if he were getting married
More example sentences
  • In outward appearance, he was a cherubically round man, about 45, in a spruce pinstripe suit and a new blue tie.
  • To turn up at County Hall looking dapper and spruce would have been to strike a false, jarring note of misplaced optimism.
  • The place has also recently been restored and so is looking quite spruce.
Synonyms
neat, well groomed, well-turned-out, well dressed, smart, trim, dapper, elegant, chic
informal natty, snazzy, spiffy

verb

[with object] (spruce someone/something up) Back to top  
Make a person or place smarter or tidier: the fund will be used to spruce up historic buildings
More example sentences
  • The existing factory buildings have been spruced up to house exhibition, workshop and office spaces.
  • A further £200,000 will be spent sprucing up the city's war memorials and a plaque will be put up by the Cenotaph - listing, for the first time, soldiers killed on active duty since the Second World War.
  • The council has adopted a 12-month strategy aimed at sprucing up the city's streets.
Synonyms
smarten (up), tidy, neaten, declutter, put in order, clean, upgrade, renovate
informal do up, gussy up

Origin

late 16th century: perhaps from spruce1 in the obsolete sense 'Prussian', in the phrase spruce (leather) jerkin.

More
  • Prussia was a former kingdom that covered much of modern northeast Germany and Poland. Between the 14th and 17th centuries it was also known in English as both Pruce and Spruce, and these words could also be used to mean ‘Prussian’. Spruce was in time used as the name of a type of fir tree grown in Prussia. It was also used in the phrase spruce leather, a fashionable type of leather imported in the 16th century from Prussia and used especially for jerkins. It is probably from this that the sense ‘neat or smart in dress or appearance’ developed.

Derivatives

sprucely

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • The boys were sprucely dressed in the customary costume of shirt, breeches, stockings and shiny black shoes.
  • He is dressed sprucely, except for his rubber overshoes, evidences of the chill, watery Parisian spring.
  • At a glance one would have described them as middle-class and lower middle-class men with their wives and children sprucely dressed in their Sunday best.

spruceness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • But then Adam is a theatrical impresario, and dresses with all the dapper spruceness of a, well, theatrical impresario.

Definition of spruce in:

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There are 3 main definitions of spruce in English:

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spruce3

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Entry from British & World English dictionary

verb

[no object] British informal , dated
1Engage in pretence or deception, especially by feigning illness: he’s no fool; he’d have known if she was sprucing
1.1 [with object] Deceive: they spruced you proper

Origin

early 20th century: of unknown origin.

More
  • Prussia was a former kingdom that covered much of modern northeast Germany and Poland. Between the 14th and 17th centuries it was also known in English as both Pruce and Spruce, and these words could also be used to mean ‘Prussian’. Spruce was in time used as the name of a type of fir tree grown in Prussia. It was also used in the phrase spruce leather, a fashionable type of leather imported in the 16th century from Prussia and used especially for jerkins. It is probably from this that the sense ‘neat or smart in dress or appearance’ developed.

Derivatives

sprucer

1
noun

Definition of spruce in:

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