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

  • n. A chronic, chiefly tropical disease characterized by diarrhea, emaciation, and anemia, caused by defective absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract.
  • n. The hole through which molten material is chanelled into a mold.
  • n. The waste material filling or protruding from this hole after hardening.
  • n. The usually plastic rod or framework that secures molded objects, such as model parts or game pieces, before their first use.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A tropical disease causing a sore throat and tongue, and disturbed digestion; psilosis.
  • n. The hole through which melted metal is poured into the gate, and thence into the mold.
  • n. Material that cools in the feed channels to a mold.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. Strictly, the hole through which melted metal is poured into the gate, and thence into the mold.
  • n. The waste piece of metal cast in this hole; hence, dross.
  • n. Same as Sprew.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In casting metal, one of the passages leading from the “skimming-gate” to the mold; also, the metal which fills the sprue or sprue-gate after solidification: same as dead-head, 1 . Also called sprue-gate.
  • n. A piece of metal or wood used by a molder in making the ingate through the sand.
  • n. See sprew.

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

  • n. a chronic disorder that occurs in tropical and non-tropical forms and in both children and adults; nutrients are not absorbed; symptoms include foul-smelling diarrhea and emaciation


Dutch spruw, from Middle Dutch sprouwe.
Perhaps of Scots origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Dutch spruw, sprouw. (Wiktionary)
Unknown (Wiktionary)


  • The possibility of controlling the gastro-intestinal symptoms in sprue by the use of parenteral therapy with liver extract has been demonstrated by Castle and Rhoads.

    George R. Minot - Nobel Lecture

  • This problem, which is called protein-losing enteropathy, may be related to a condition known as sprue or “celiac sprue” or inflammatory bowel disease.


  • Cut off the sprue, and file the rough edges so the new piece will stand up.

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 6339

  • There are even some studies that suggest a link between celiac sprue and seizures.

    Promise Me

  • Symptoms of celiac sprue include gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating.

    Promise Me

  • Tell them that you think it might be celiac sprue and see what they say.

    Promise Me

  • I want you to tell the doctors that you think Charlotte has a disease called celiac sprue.

    Promise Me

  • Nothing worked it would be many years before sprue was first successfully treated with massive doses of vitamin B.


  • The illness that had aged her so rapidly was sprue, a form of tropical anemia that attacks the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat, and digestive tract, making it difficult to swallow or digest food.


  • Pityriasis rubra pilaris and celiac sprue with malabsorption.

    The UltraMind Solution


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  • Sprue is also used in silversmithing - similar to the definition given by yarb in the first post in this thread. An artifact of the casting/molding of plastic, glass, or metal.

    September 10, 2009

  • Celiacs United - glad I'm not one of the afflicted.

    September 10, 2009

  • It certainly is. Thanks, bilby.

    September 10, 2009

  • Is this worse than it sounds?

    September 10, 2009

  • Thanks, yarb--I'd long ago forgotten that. :-)

    September 21, 2008

  • A word for that? Wow.

    September 21, 2008

  • Also, the (usually plastic) rib from which the parts of a model kit must be removed.

    September 21, 2008