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speck

[spek] /spɛk/
noun
1.
a small spot differing in color or substance from that of the surface or material upon which it appears or lies:
Specks of soot on the window sill.
2.
a very little bit or particle:
We haven't a speck of sugar.
3.
something appearing small by comparison or by reason of distance:
By then the town was just a speck.
verb (used with object)
4.
to mark with, or as with, a speck or specks.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English specke, Old English specca; cognate with Dutch spikkel
Related forms
speckedness
[spek-id-nis] /ˈspɛk ɪd nɪs/ (Show IPA),
noun
speckless, adjective
specklessly, adverb
specklessness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for speck
  • Each cell could contain a tiny speck of fissionable material, or the cells could cluster in a colony around a source.
  • The planet would appear as a tiny speck, with neither blue ocean nor swirling, white cloud visible.
  • Sometimes they'd see a tiny speck in the sky, sometimes two or more together, making a distant buzz.
  • Fish has been cast by the news media as a self-satisfied showman, but not a speck of pretense crops up during our conversation.
  • We could see the brown speck against the darker background for many yards.
  • In a minute, the dog has become a dark speck on the ice behind us.
  • Though its wings are clipped, it flees surprisingly fast, a dark speck in the twilight.
  • The first sign of the threat was no more than a speck on a star-streaked telescope image.
  • Cave pearls are formed when a drop of water from the ceiling hits the limestone floor and throws up a speck of rock.
  • Collisions with even a small speck can damage working satellites or harm spacewalkers.
British Dictionary definitions for speck

speck

/spɛk/
noun
1.
a very small mark or spot
2.
a small or tiny piece of something
verb
3.
(transitive) to mark with specks or spots
Word Origin
Old English specca; related to Middle Dutch spekelen to sprinkle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for speck
n.

Old English specca "small spot, stain," of unknown origin; probably related to Dutch speckel "speck, speckle," Middle Dutch spekelen "to sprinkle." Meaning "tiny bit" developed c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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13
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