nounhistorical, rare Scottish
A long wooden bar used in carrying things by hand; specifically either of a pair of poles used in carrying a coffin. Compare "handspike".
Early 16th century (in an earlier sense). Originally from hand + spake, Scots variant of spoke, after early modern Dutch handspaecke crowbar, lever (although this is first attested later: 1588 in Kiliaan; Dutch handspaak; from hand + spaecke bar, pole (Middle Dutch spāke)); compare German Handspake.