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[sproos] /sprus/
adjective, sprucer, sprucest.
trim in dress or appearance; neat; smart; dapper.
verb (used with object), spruced, sprucing.
to make spruce or smart (often followed by up):
Spruce up the children before the company comes.
verb (used without object), spruced, sprucing.
to make oneself spruce (usually followed by up).
Origin of spruce2
1580-90; obsolete spruce jerkin orig., jerkin made of spruce leather, i.e., leather imported from Prussia (see spruce1), hence fine, smart, etc.
Related forms
sprucely, adverb
spruceness, noun
unspruced, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spruced
Historical Examples
  • He had spruced up a little, though the four dollars he had got from Dinville the night before was not sufficient for new clothes.

    Plotting in Pirate Seas Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • Upon this he spruced up, looked gay, roll'd about in a chariot.

    A Book about Doctors John Cordy Jeaffreson
  • It seems to me you've spruced up mightily since the last time you came to the Bourg.

    The Nabob, Vol. 2 (of 2) Alphonse Daudet
  • I at once spruced up my best, and told the doctor that I was ready to start.

    Opium Eating Anonymous
  • Dud and Jim, who had been lounging around Killykinick in sweaters and middies, were spruced up into young gentlemen again.

    Killykinick Mary T. Waggaman
  • I calculated to have spruced up considerable before you come in.

    Nelly's Silver Mine Helen Hunt Jackson
  • Sure, he was all spruced up now, ready to make a polite courtesy call at the big house.

    Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton
  • He was all spruced up, and as nervous and excited as a schoolboy.

    Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • He had spruced himself, but I seemed to see the rags still nutter about him.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • Old shops were spruced up; old stocks, by aid of brushing and additions, were made to appear quite salable and rapidly ran off.

British Dictionary definitions for spruced


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 See also Norway spruce, blue spruce, white spruce, black spruce
the wood of any of these trees
Word Origin
C17: short for Spruce fir, from C14 Spruce Prussia, changed from Pruce, via Old French from Latin Prussia


neat, smart, and trim
Derived Forms
sprucely, adverb
spruceness, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Spruce leather a fashionable leather imported from Prussia; see spruce1
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 spruced



"evergreen tree," 1660s, from spruse (adj.) "made of spruce wood" (early 15c.), literally "from Prussia," from Spruce, Sprws (late 14c.), unexplained alterations of Pruce "Prussia," from an Old French form of Prussia. 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.


1590s, from the adjective meaning "to make trim or neat," from spruce leather (mid-15c., 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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