Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A chip, fragment, or flake from a piece of stone or ore.
  • intransitive verb To break up into chips or fragments.
  • intransitive verb To chip or crumble.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The shoulder.
  • noun A chip or splinter thrown off, as in chopping or hewing; now specifically, in masonry, a piece of stone chipped off by a blow of a hammer or mallet.
  • To split; splinter; chip; specifically, in mining, to chip or break up roughly, as ore, preparatory to sorting the material.
  • To keep (the frames of a ship) at their proper distance apart.
  • To splinter; chip; give off spalls.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb (Mining) To break into small pieces, as ore, for the purpose of separating from rock.
  • transitive verb (Masonry) To reduce, as irregular blocks of stone, to an approximately level surface by hammering.
  • intransitive verb To give off spalls, or wedge-shaped chips; -- said of stone, as when badly set, with the weight thrown too much on the outer surface.
  • noun obsolete The shoulder.
  • noun A chip or fragment, especially a chip of stone as struck off the block by the hammer, having at least one feather-edge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete, rare The shoulder.
  • noun A splinter, fragment or chip, especially of stone.
  • verb transitive To break into fragments or small pieces.

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

  • noun a fragment broken off from the edge or face of stone or ore and having at least one thin edge

Etymologies

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

[Middle English spalle.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian spalla.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English spalle ("a chip") (first documented in 1440), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from the Middle English verb spald ("to split") (c.1400), from Middle Low German spalden, cognate with Old High German spaltan ("to split")

Examples

  • The term "spall" refers to large flakes, large flake fragments, and chunks.

    The Ancient Maya - A Commercial Empire

  • The term "spall" refers to large flakes, large flake fragments, and chunks.

    The Ancient Maya - A Commercial Empire

  • Commission engineers believe water seeping through joints on top of the bridge is causing the concrete along the bottom of the edge of the deck slabs to "spall," or weaken and flake,

    Gas Drilling

  • Commission engineers believe water seeping through joints on top of the bridge is causing the concrete along the bottom of the edge of the deck slabs to "spall," or weaken and flake,

    Gas Drilling

  • The bright-hammered melody of the flat-crank 4.5-liter V8, the fiery spall of the overrun note, the tach-rapping flexibility of the 9,000-rpm engine as you gear-bang the seven-speed dual clutch tranny—all of that is at a slight remove in the fixed-roof car.

    Ferrari 458 Italia Loses Its Top, Gains Hugely

  • Bob withdrew, and a good thing too, as in seconds, maybe nanoseconds, a burst of automatic fire came hurtling his way to spall off the hood and spray randomly into the air, chewing up metallic debris, paint dust, and friction-driven sparks.

    A Bob Lee Swagger eBook Boxed Set

  • Bob withdrew, and a good thing too, as in seconds, maybe nanoseconds, a burst of automatic fire came hurtling his way to spall off the hood and spray randomly into the air, chewing up metallic debris, paint dust, and friction-driven sparks.

    A Bob Lee Swagger eBook Boxed Set

  • Bob withdrew, and a good thing too, as in seconds, maybe nanoseconds, a burst of automatic fire came hurtling his way to spall off the hood and spray randomly into the air, chewing up metallic debris, paint dust, and friction-driven sparks.

    A Bob Lee Swagger eBook Boxed Set

  • When that water refreezes, it expands and exerts pressure on the walls of the pores, causing pieces to spall, or flake off.

    Can a deicer damage my driveway and harm my plants?

  • When that water refreezes, it expands and exerts pressure on the walls of the pores, causing pieces to spall, or flake off.

    Can a deicer damage my driveway and harm my plants?

Comments

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  • Also refers as both a noun and a verb to bullet fragments that break off inside their target.

    July 18, 2008

  • featheredge

    August 25, 2009

  • "The whole urban chaos spalls and before

    we know it the subject has changed."

    "More Reluctant," in Quick Question by John Ashbery

    October 11, 2014