1893 text

To spoom, or spoon, is to go right before the wind, without any sail. Sea Dictionary. Dryden uses the word

“When virtue spooms before a prosperous gale, My heaving wishes help to fill the sail.” Hind and Panther, iii. 96.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

1 Annotation

First Reading

cgs  •  Link

to spoon or not to spoon be question

[Of obscure origin. See also SPOOM v.]

1. intr. In sailing, to run before the wind or sea; to scud. Also with away. (Common in 17th cent.)
1576 in Hakluyt's Voy. (1904) VII. 206 We had so much wind that we spooned after the sea.
1588 PARKE tr. Mendoza's Hist. China 301 They sponed before the winde with their foresayle halfe mast hie.

1627 CAPT. SMITH Seaman's Gram. ix. 40 If she will neither Try nor Hull, Then Spoone, that is, put her right before the wind.

1669 STURMY Mariner's Mag. I. ii. 17 The Ship lies very broad off; it is better spooning before the Sea, than trying or hulling.

1694 MOTTEUX Rabelais IV. xviii. (1737) 75 The next day we spied nine Sail that came spooning before the Wind.
2. To move rapidly on or upon another vessel.

3. trans. (See quot.)
c1635 N. BOTELER Dial. Sea Services (1685) 293 They use to set the Fore sail to make her the steddier, and this is called spooning the Fore-sail.
II. 6. intr. a. To make love, esp. in a sentimental or silly fashion. colloq.
1831 LADY GRANVILLE Lett. (1894) II. 77 The billiard room, in which they spooned
[Alteration of SPOON v.1]
spoom, v.
intr. To run before the sea, wind, etc.; to scud. Also fig.
c1620 FLETCHER & MASS. Double Marr. II. i, We'll spare her our main top-sail... Down with the foresail too, we'll spoom before her.

1628 F. FLETCHER World Encomp. by Sir F. Drake 40 By no means that we could conceiue could helpe themselues, but by spooming along before the sea.

1653 URQUHART Rabelais II. i. 4 If it happened the foresaid members to be..spooming with a full saile bunt faire before the winde.

1687 DRYDEN Hind & P. III. 96 When vertue spooms before a prosperous gale, My heaving wishes help to fill the sail.

pre 1700
spoon, n
1. a. A thin piece of wood; a chip, splinter, or shiver. Obs.

b. A roofing-shingle. Also collect. Obs.
2. a. A utensil consisting essentially of a straight handle with an enlarged and hollowed end-piece (the bowl), used for conveying soft or liquid food to the mouth, or employed in the culinary preparation or other handling of this.

Spoons are frequently distinguished according to the material of which they are made, as horn, silver, wooden spoon, or the special use for which they are adapted, as dessert-, marrow-, mustard-, salt-, soup-, table-, tea spoon.
b. In miscellaneous uses (see quots.).
1634 ROWLEY Noble Soldier III. iii. in Bullen Old Pl. (1882) I, Now! what hot poyson'd Custard must I put my Spoone into?

a1635 CORBET Poet. Strom. (1648) 69 When private Men gett sonnes they get a spoone, Without Ecclypse, or any Starr at noone.

b. In allusion to the gift of a spoon to a child at its christening. Obs.
4. An implement of the form described above (sense 2), or something similar to this, used for various purposes:

a. As a surgical instrument.
3. In proverbial and other phrases: a. In the proverb he should have a long spoon that sups with the Devil, or variations of this.

b. In melting, heating, or assaying substances. {dag}Also, the bowl of a ladle.

5. a. spoon of the brisket, the hollow at the lower end of the breast-bone. Obs.

b. spoon of the stomach, the pit of the stomach. Obs.{em}1

b. Miscell., as spoon-maker, -manufacturer, -warmer; spoon-like, -wise adjs.
a1686 SIR T. BROWNE Norf. Birds Wks. 1852 III. 314 They..are..remarkable in their white colour, copped crown, and *spoon or spatule-like bill

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Aug