Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The track or trail of an animal, especially a wild animal.
  • transitive v. To track (an animal) by following its spoor or to engage in such tracking.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The track, trail, droppings or scent of an animal
  • v. To track an animal by following its spoor

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The track or trail of any wild animal.
  • intransitive v. To follow a spoor or trail.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To follow a spoor or trail.
  • To track by the spoor.
  • n. The track or trail of a wild animal or animals, especially such as are pursued as game; slot; hence, scent: used originally by travelers in South Africa.
  • n. In general, any track or trace.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the trail left by a person or an animal; what the hunter follows in pursuing game

Etymologies

Afrikaans, from Middle Dutch; see sperə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Afrikaans, from Dutch spoor, akin to Old English and Old Norse spor (whence Danish spor). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Hottentots were now sent on in advance to trace out the "spoor" -- in other words, the track of the lion.

    The Settler and the Savage

  • The spoor was a wide road for a thousand men had passed along it and the wagons and gun carriages had left deep ruts.

    When the Lion Feeds

  • The spoor was a day old and it ran toward the north.

    Jungle Tales of Tarzan

  • To find the spoor was a very easy matter, for the last stake had been driven in comparatively soft ground, and despite the fact that it was by this time almost pitch dark, a short search, aided by the light of the lanterns, disclosed the hoof prints of

    Harry Escombe A Tale of Adventure in Peru

  • The story that follows, however, is less an investigation than an exorcism … The writing is exquisite and exacting, as when the narrator describes the dregs of whiskey in a glass as her father's "spoor," or recalls her lover's "dazzling Kabuki face."

    Secondhand World: Summary and book reviews of Secondhand World by Katherine Min.

  • They continued to follow the "spoor" of the two hounds, left so plainly for their guidance.

    Pathfinder or, The Missing Tenderfoot

  • Towards evening scouts reported the "spoor" of the enemy, for the ground bore the impression of thousands of naked footprints and those of about a hundred booted men.

    Wilmshurst of the Frontier Force

  • Within the last ten years the educated instinct that as a younger man taught him to follow the trail of an Indian, or the "spoor" of the Kaffir and the trek wagon, now leads him as a mining expert to the hiding-places of copper, silver, and gold, and, as he advises, great and wealthy syndicates buy or refuse tracts of land in Africa and Mexico as large as the State of New York.

    Real Soldiers of Fortune

  • Moreover, the "spoor" remained undisturbed in the road for a distance sufficient to indicate the general direction in which the party had gone, although it was lost in the ordinary signs of traffic within a few yards of the gates.

    Harry Escombe A Tale of Adventure in Peru

  • As an instance of their powers of following a "spoor," it may be mentioned that on several occasions our captive suddenly darted off at a tangent with eyes to ground, and then started digging his heel in the sand to find where a lizard or iguana was that he had tracked to his hole.

    Spinifex and Sand

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  • "The truth is that grizzlies in the Interior have a range of one hundred square miles. Unless you know where to find them and what to look for, you're lucky to spot a pigeon-toed track much less a real bear. Yet the primal fear one feels when hiking in grizzly country persists. A fresh pile of spoor or the site of an excavated hill where a grizzly has torn up everything to get at roots or a squirrel is sure to raise the hair on the back of the human neck."
    —James Campbell, The Final Frontiersman (New York and London: Atria Books, 2004), 131

    September 17, 2008