early 14c., from O.N.Fr. spole, espole "a spool" (13c.), from M.Du. spoele "a spool," from P.Gmc. *spolon (cf. Norw., Swed. spole, O.H.G. spuola, Ger. Spule), from PIE base *spel- "to cleave, split" (see spoil). The verb is recorded from c.1600.
(spl) To store data that is sent to a device, such as a printer, in a buffer that the device reads. This procedure allows the program that sent the data to the device to resume its normal operation without waiting for the device to process the data.