Definition of spear in English:



  • 1A weapon with a pointed tip, typically of steel, and a long shaft, used for thrusting or throwing.

    • ‘Their traditional hunting weapons were spears and blow guns.’
    • ‘The spear was the commonest weapon with an iron blade on a wooden shaft, often of ash and 2 to 3m in length.’
    • ‘Swords, spears, and other weapons of obvious value stuck out of the mounds at odd angles.’
    • ‘They were poised to throw their spears and javelins but I had a sudden impulse to stop them.’
    • ‘This spear, or javelin if it was thrown, was used to keep enemies at bay, and also as a missile weapon to wreak havoc among the ranks of their enemies.’
    • ‘The thrusting spear tended to have a stronger, fairly broad leaf or lozenge shaped head with a central ridge for strength.’
    • ‘They had machetes, knives, spears and bows and arrows.’
    • ‘Soon, scuffles broke out, spears were thrown, and muskets discharged.’
    • ‘Swords, spears, bows and arrows and many other weapons were being made in full force.’
    • ‘Then they engaged in hand to hand fighting, bayonet against spears and swords.’
    • ‘This movie is just men with swords, arrows, spears and guns.’
    • ‘It is said that every child born to the Karstarks is taught how to handle a sword before the age of ten and to throw a spear before the age of twelve.’
    • ‘Staffs, swords, daggers and spears sat neatly in the crate.’
    • ‘Yesterday spears were the weapon of choice in the North Rift; today they are being replaced by the Kalashnikov and rocket-fired grenade.’
    • ‘A week later, a larger party of some 200 Maori appeared, this time with spears slung over their backs, and muskets and tomahawks.’
    • ‘Their curved long swords, spears and bows, were all finely crafted weapons.’
    • ‘There were bows, swords, spears, and any other weapon of all shapes and sizes, but there were no guns.’
    • ‘They were trained in the use of numerous weapons, especially swords and spears.’
    • ‘Thrown spears are probably the first weapons to arrive amongst the opposing side, other than shouted insults.’
    • ‘The Knights had never needed any kind of weapon beyond their swords and spears and bows.’
    blade, knife, sword, spear, lance, pike, javelin, shaft, harpoon
    1. 1.1An instrument with a long shaft and a barbed tip used for catching fish.
      • ‘One of the traditional fishing methods in the Kavango includes fishing with spears.’
      • ‘Whaling in Korea dates back to the prehistoric era, as is evidenced by rock carvings, as well as bones and fishing spears found in Ulsan that are 5,000 years old.’
      • ‘The Ojibwa fished throughout the year, using hooks, nets, spears, and traps.’
      • ‘Fish, especially Arctic char were caught in weirs and traps and taken using fish spears.’
      • ‘They employed several methods for catching fish, including nets, traps, and spears.’
      • ‘With a quick snap the spear came down and caught a fish in the sharpened barbs that Erik cut into it.’
      • ‘On the walls were fish netting with an assortment of fishing equipment, including a fishing spear.’
    2. 1.2archaic A spearman.
  • 2A plant shoot, especially a pointed stem of asparagus or broccoli.

    ‘smoked salmon wrapped around asparagus spears’
    • ‘Deb emerged from her cubicle, and shyly asked Gil's permission to eat two Portobello mushrooms and a spear of asparagus for dinner.’
    • ‘My father is still picking stray asparagus spears from a commercial asparagus patch that was planted when he was a boy, and, that was a long time ago!’
    • ‘Above and below the fava beans I've placed asparagus spears.’
    • ‘Grilled asparagus spears and a delicious, thin-layered potato gratin were the ideal go-alongs.’
    • ‘Place three asparagus spears in the center of a plate.’
    • ‘The appearance of thin, young asparagus spears in the market is a sure-fire sign of spring.’
    • ‘Use thick asparagus spears, trimming tough ends and peeling the bottom half of stalk.’
    • ‘Kate orders a poached salmon with asparagus spears and a shrimp salad.’
    • ‘Arrange some fried artichoke chips and some asparagus spears around the dish and garnish with tarragon.’
    • ‘Place a whole asparagus spear in the center of the salad.’
    • ‘Dredge each asparagus spear in flour and pat off excess, then dredge in batter.’
    • ‘Place one asparagus spear on each pasta square so the tips extend outside the pasta.’
    • ‘People always want to know if my children are good eaters, or if a spear of broccoli reduces them to tears.’
    • ‘Snap the asparagus at its natural breaking point, by holding the spear in both hands and snapping like a twig.’
    • ‘To steam asparagus spears, snap off and discard woody bases from fresh asparagus.’
    • ‘It was the very first month of English asparagus season and I asked where these spears, which had no flavour at all, had come from.’
    sprout, offshoot, scion, sucker, bud, spear, runner, tendril, sprig, cutting


[with object]
  • Pierce or strike with a spear or other pointed object.

    ‘she speared her last chip with her fork’
    • ‘Then, with a lucky stab, Johnny speared the snake with the frog gig, just behind its neck.’
    • ‘His foot and leg injury cause him to limp as he sprints toward Spike and spears him to the ground.’
    • ‘Queequeg spears a male on the outer rim of the crowd.’
    • ‘Since the late '70s, and the fashion upheaval wrought by punk rock, people have been spearing the little metal pins through their ears or leather jackets.’
    • ‘The Aborigines would then spear cattle for food and a cycle of violence might follow.’
    • ‘She was spearing a spinach leaf.’
    • ‘She nodded again, spearing a piece of sausage with her fork.’
    • ‘T-Boy cut into the French toast and speared another piece.’
    • ‘Prince William raised a public outcry in England over the weekend when he speared a wild antelope on an African holiday.’
    • ‘She picked up the fork and speared a mushroom on it.’
    • ‘From time to time when Lily speared a piece of French toast, she tapped her fork on the edge of her plate to shake loose the extra sugar.’
    • ‘He speared two bits of potato and dropped them beside his roll of ham.’
    • ‘She defiantly speared the last sausage on her plate and began to cut it up when a black, hairy nose appeared in her lap from under the tablecloth.’
    • ‘So, moving without being asked, Josh speared the end of the slice and brought it to Rob's lips.’
    • ‘He has speared one of the sardines with the quill and is spinning it back and forth, spraying sardine oil.’
    • ‘Tom was the first to act; he ran straight at one individual guard and speared him onto the ground.’
    • ‘Without moving his lower body at all, he bent slightly and speared it through the middle.’
    • ‘Chic women in Gucci sunglasses and high heels used toothpicks to spear their next mouthful with precision, others just grabbed chunks off display plates with their fingers.’
    • ‘She tossed lettuce around in her salad and was preparing to spear a piece to her fork when the waitress bought their entrées.’
    • ‘About 15 miles from here, on July 13, 2002, a lightning bolt shot down from a summer thunderstorm, spearing a mountaintop grove.’
    pierce, puncture, make a hole in, put a hole in, stab, perforate, rupture, riddle, penetrate, nick, spear, slit, incise, knife, bore, spike, skewer, spit, stick, punch, pin, needle, jag, jab


    the spear side
    • The male side or members of a family.


Old English spere, of Germanic origin; compare with Dutch speer and German Speer.