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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Spile \Spile\, v. t. To supply with a spile or a spigot; to make a small vent in, as a cask.


Spile \Spile\, n. [Cf. LG. spile, dial. G. speil, speiler, D. spijl. [root]170.]

  1. A small plug or wooden pin, used to stop a vent, as in a cask.

  2. A small tube or spout inserted in a tree for conducting sap, as from a sugar maple.

  3. A large stake driven into the ground as a support for some superstructure; a pile.

    Spile hole, a small air hole in a cask; a vent.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

tap or spout for drawing maple sugar, 1844, from Northern English dialect spile "splinter" (1510s), from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German spile "splinter, skewer, bar, spindle," German Speiler "skewer;" perhaps related to spike (n.1).


Etymology 1 n. 1 (context obsolete or dialectal English) A splinter. 2 A spigot or plug used to stop the hole in a barrel or cask. 3 (context US English) A spout inserted in a maple (or other tree) to draw off sap. vb. 1 To plug (a hole) with a spile. 2 To draw off (a liquid) using a spile. 3 To provide (a barrel, tree etc.) with a spile. Etymology 2

n. A pile; a post or girder. vb. To support by means of spiles. Etymology 3

vb. (context US dialect ambitransitive English) spoil.

  1. n. a column of wood or steel or concrete that is driven into the ground to provide support for a structure [syn: pile, piling, stilt]

  2. a plug used to close a hole in a barrel or flask [syn: bung]


A spile is a small wooden or metal peg used to control the flow of air into, and carbon dioxide out of, a cask of ale. It also can be used to obtain water from a tree.

Usage examples of "spile".

They had washed and triple rinsed innumerable coils of plastic tubing, many buckets of spiles, and a dozen implements of the stainless steel variety.

Men were unloading spiles from a cable car that ran out on the pier on a little construction railway, as well as other material with which to fill in the pier.

I was passable enough when I went with the tinker, though nothing to boast of then: but what with blowing the fire with my mouth when I was young, and spileing my complexion, and singeing my hair off, and swallering the smoke.