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

  • n. A post used as a foundation; a pile.
  • n. A wooden plug; a bung.
  • n. A spigot used in taking sap from a tree.
  • transitive v. To support with a spile.
  • transitive v. To plug or tap with a spile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A splinter.
  • n. A spigot or plug used to stop the hole in a barrel or cask.
  • n. A spout inserted in a maple (or other tree) to draw off sap.
  • v. To plug (a hole) with a spile.
  • v. To draw off (a liquid) using a spile.
  • v. To provide (a barrel, tree etc.) with a spile.
  • n. A pile; a post or girder.
  • v. To support by means of spiles.
  • v. spoil.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small plug or wooden pin, used to stop a vent, as in a cask.
  • n. A small tube or spout inserted in a tree for conducting sap, as from a sugar maple.
  • n. A large stake driven into the ground as a support for some superstructure; a pile.
  • transitive v. To supply with a spile or a spigot; to make a small vent in, as a cask.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pierce with a small hole and stop the same with a plug, spigot, or the like: said of a cask of liquid.
  • To set with piles or piling.
  • To play.
  • A dialectal form of spoil.
  • n. A solid wooden plug used as a spigot.
  • n. A wooden or metal spout driven into a sugar-maple tree to eonduct the sap or sugar-water to a pan or bucket placed beneath it; a tapping-gouge.
  • n. In ship-building, a small wooden pin used as a plug for a nail-hole.
  • n. A narrow-pointed wedge used in tubbing.
  • n. A pile: same as pile, 3.

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

  • n. a plug used to close a hole in a barrel or flask
  • n. a column of wood or steel or concrete that is driven into the ground to provide support for a structure


Dutch spijl, wooden pin, from Middle Dutch spīle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle Dutch or Middle Low German spile ("splinter, peg"), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *spīlaz (“splinter, peg”), from Proto-Indo-European *spēy- (“prickle, pointed stick”). Cognate with Eastern Frisian spyl, German Speil ("chip, splinter, gore, wedge"), Danish spile. (Wiktionary)
Alteration of pile, after Etymology 1, above. (Wiktionary)
Alteration of spoil. (Wiktionary)



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  • piles of spile

    June 14, 2012

  • "It's that time of year again. We have made maple syrup and sometimes wine every year since we have lived out here. This year we tapped 23 Silver Maple trees and just started collecting the sap.
    This nifty gadget is called a spile and fits into a hole drilled into the tree. The hook on top allows a bucket or sap sack to be hung directly from it."
    - Jack Schmidling, 'Maple Syrup',

    October 21, 2008

  • ...mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads...

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 1

    July 23, 2008