spruce up

spruce-up

[sproos-uhp]
noun
an act of cleaning up, refurbishing, renovating, or the like.

Origin:
noun use of verb phrase spruce up

Dictionary.com Unabridged

spruce

2 [sproos]
adjective, sprucer, sprucest.
1.
trim in dress or appearance; neat; smart; dapper.
verb (used with object), spruced, sprucing.
2.
to make spruce or smart (often followed by up ): Spruce up the children before the company comes.
verb (used without object), spruced, sprucing.
3.
to make oneself spruce (usually followed by up ).

Origin:
1580–90; obsolete spruce jerkin orig., jerkin made of spruce leather, i.e., leather imported from Prussia (see spruce1), hence fine, smart, etc.

sprucely, adverb
spruceness, noun
unspruced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
spruce1 (spruːs)
 
n
1.  Norway spruce blue spruce white spruce See also black spruce any coniferous tree of the N temperate genus Picea, cultivated for timber and for ornament: family Pinaceae. They grow in a pyramidal shape and have needle-like leaves and light-coloured wood
2.  the wood of any of these trees
 
[C17: short for Spruce fir, from C14 Spruce Prussia, changed from Pruce, via Old French from Latin Prussia]

spruce2 (spruːs)
 
adj
neat, smart, and trim
 
[C16: perhaps from Spruce leather a fashionable leather imported from Prussia; see spruce1]
 
'sprucely2
 
adv
 
'spruceness2
 
n

spruce up
 
vb
(adverb) to make (oneself, a person, or thing) smart and neat

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

spruce
"evergreen tree," 1660s, from spruse (adj.) "made of spruce wood" (early 15c.), lit. "from Prussia," from Spruce, Sprws (late 14c.), unexplained alterations of Pruce "Prussia," from O.Fr. Spruce seems to have been a generic term for commodities brought to England by Hanseatic merchants (beer, board,
leather, see spruce (v.)), and the tree was believed to have come from Prussia.

spruce
1594, from the adj. meaning "to make trim or neat," from spruce leather (1466, see spruce (n.)), which was used to make a popular style of jerkins in the 1400s that was considered smart-looking.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

spruce up

Make neat and trim, as in She spruced up the chairs with new cushions. This idiom originated in the late 1500s as simply spruce but had acquired up by 1676.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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