Definition of spall in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /spɔːl/


[with object]
1Break (ore, rock, or stone) into smaller pieces, especially in preparation for sorting: the ore was spalled by young women seated at anvils
1.1 [no object] (Of ore, rock, or stone) break off in fragments: cracks below the surface cause slabs of material to spall off
More example sentences
  • The elongation of the well bore is the result of compressive shear failure on intersecting conjugate planes, which causes pieces of the borehole wall to spall off.
  • You are also to check on incidence of spalling or cracking concrete on the external faces of the buildings and similarly report with recommendations and estimate of cost.
  • Though ornamented with beautiful huge rock-gripping bristlecones, the cliffs tend to spall off in big chunks and the ore body rock where the mine adits go clearly tends to cave in unless aggressively shored up.


A splinter or chip, especially of rock.
Example sentences
  • Any cracks, chips, holes, dips or spalls should be repaired in order to achieve a flat surface.
  • A slick finish won't get dusty, but be careful not to get air-entrained concrete where air can get entrapped below the troweled surface, leading to spalls.
  • He struggled up a steep grade, slipping on the loose spall.


Late Middle English (as a noun): of unknown origin. The verb dates from the mid 18th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: spall

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.