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[spav-in] /ˈspæv ɪn/
noun, Veterinary Pathology.
a disease of the hock joint of horses in which enlargement occurs because of collected fluids (bog spavin) bony growth (bone spavin) or distention of the veins (blood spavin)
an excrescence or enlargement so formed.
Origin of spavin
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English spaveyne < Old French (e)spavain, esparvain swelling < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spavin
Historical Examples
  • When spavin is bilateral and lameness is likewise affecting both members, prognosis is at once unfavorable.

    Lameness of the Horse John Victor Lacroix
  • There was not a hitch in a settlement, nor a spavin in your stables, could escape him.

  • See—Mr. spavin is settling his toilette previous to departure; giving a curl in the glass to his side-wisps of hair.

    The Book of Snobs William Makepeace Thackeray
  • "All the coaches are full with the men going down," spavin said.

    The History of Pendennis William Makepeace Thackeray
  • spavin, ringbone, splints, quittor and many other anomalous conditions may all be observed from certain proper angles.

    Lameness of the Horse John Victor Lacroix
  • A spavin was apparent in one leg, while on another was a great ringbone.

    The Boys of Old Monmouth Everett T. Tomlinson
  • Hereditary predispositions make for the presence of spavin in a large percentage of the progeny of sires so affected.

    Lameness of the Horse John Victor Lacroix
  • "More by token, with a spavin," whispered another; while a roar of laughter followed the joke.

    Jack Hinton Charles James Lever
  • Yes, it's lucky for me old spavin being laid up like this—gives me a regular little outing, do you see?

    Lyre and Lancet F. Anstey
  • I'll wire old spavin that I'm detained on biz; and I'll tell 'em to send my riding-breeches and dress-clothes down!

    Lyre and Lancet F. Anstey
British Dictionary definitions for spavin


(vet science) enlargement of the hock of a horse by a bony growth (bony spavin) or fluid accumulation in the joint (bog spavin), usually caused by inflammation or injury, and often resulting in lameness
Word Origin
C15: from Old French espavin, of unknown origin
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 spavin

disease of the hock joint of a horse, early 15c., from Middle French espavain, perhaps from Frankish *sparwan "sparrow" (see sparrow), so called perhaps from comparison of the bird's awkward gait to that of a horse affected with spavin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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