Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Spruce

Spruce is a coniferous tree of the genus Picea, the wood from such a tree and a type of beer flavoured with its needles and twigs. I knew that. It's not the stuff in retsina, that comes from pine trees, but there is a tree known as a spruce pine.

Spruce can also mean neat or smart in appearance. I knew that too. Don't think I've ever heard a person actually use the word spruce on it's own in that way, but 'getting spruced up' is a fairly common expression round these here parts.


I think the spruce looking trees in the photo are yews. It wouldn't be a good plan to drink anything made with those.


Apparently spruce is also slang for lying, malingering, evading a duty or to practise deception. I'd be sprucing if I said I knew that before I looked it up.


26 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't know that last meaning of spruce.

Linda G. said...

Lying, malingering, etc.? I had no idea about that definition. Thanks for the education! :)

Misha Gericke said...

Spruces are in my top three favorite tree species, following Oak and Willow trees. :-)

L said...

Spruce would make a fine comment for someone's appearance, not the lying malingering meaning, like you would say "he's fit" you could say "he's spruce"! What do you think?

Crystal Collier said...

Alas, my script writing days are behind me, but I loved the break down of word meaning. I occasionally write historical fantasy, and it's amazing how much a word's meaning changes over time. Truly, language is a fascinating thing. I feel slightly smarter after reading this post. ;)

P.S. You've been nominated for an award on my blog. =D

Robin said...

No wonder "they" say English is the hardest language to learn. One word means so many different things. I had no idea about the last one...

lizy-expat-writer said...

There are times when my mind boggles at the convoluted way you link a photograph of a plant and your latest competition find!

Sharon Bradshaw said...

I hadn't heard the slang version of spruce and I didn't know about pine being used in retsina! Thanks, Patsy, it's an interesting post.

Teresa Ashby said...

How interesting - I didn't know that last meaning of Spruce either :-) x

Anonymous said...

We say 'Go and get spruced up' as well, or the spruce look lovely with snow on. But sprucing around the back of the bus shelter is a new one for me.

Patsy said...

Apparently it's UK slang, Alex which let's you off.

Patsy said...

It's educational, unless I'm sprucing you, Linda. (I'm not, honest)

Patsy said...

I like all trees, Misha. I'm particularly fond of fruit trees, especially mulberry, birches, willows, any that colour in autumn, oaks ...

Patsy said...

I agree, L. Let's start using it and see if we can get it to catch on.

Patsy said...

It is interesting how words change meaning, Crystal - and how some just go out of fashion. In the past there were some great insults that we never use now.

Thanks for the award - I'll be over to find out more.

Patsy said...

I reckon it's the easiest, Robin - it's the only one I feel I'm getting the hang of!

Patsy said...

My mission is to boggle, Lizy!

Patsy said...

Glad you found it interesting, Sharon.

Patsy said...

Teresa, I'm beginning to think no one, other than the compilers of my dictionary, knew it. Now I'm not saying they made it up, but if I was helping to compile a dictionary I'd be tempted to add a few extra definitions.

'Patsy Collins - person you must give cake to' for example.

Patsy said...

I'm sure it goes on, Suzy - though naturally you'd not be involved with such dodgy behaviour!

Maggie May said...

The spruces in the picture look nicely manicured. But they are often planted in small back gardens and neglected. The ground around them becomes dry and barren and they block out sunshine and light from neighbouring properties and gardens. So they are not my favourite tree, but they have their place in the right surroundings. Spruces need sprucing up me thinks.

Patsy said...

That's the key to most plants (and maybe people too?) I think, Maggie - they're good in the right situation.

Romance Book Haven said...

Definitely like to spruce up! Thanks for the links Patsy!

Nas

Linda King said...

Ah, Patsy, your posts just get cleverer and cleverer! The term 'spruced up' reminds me so much of my dad when I was young - it must have been one of his phrases then!

Patsy said...

Nas, I reckon you can look well spruce when you want to.

Patsy said...

Funny how a phrase can bring back memories, isn't it, Linda?