"stout pole," c.1300, "rafter," from M.L.G. or M.Du. sparre,
from P.Gmc. *sparron
(cf. O.E. *spere
"spear, lance," O.N. sperra
"rafter, beam"), from PIE base *sper-
"spear, pole" (see spear
). Nautical use dates from 1640. Also borrowed in O.Fr. as esparre
, which may have been the direct source of the Eng. word.