Definitions

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

  • n. A chip, fragment, or flake from a piece of stone or ore.
  • transitive v. To break up into chips or fragments.
  • intransitive v. To chip or crumble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A splinter, fragment or chip, especially of stone.
  • v. To break into fragments or small pieces.
  • n. The shoulder.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The shoulder.
  • n. A chip or fragment, especially a chip of stone as struck off the block by the hammer, having at least one feather-edge.
  • transitive v. To break into small pieces, as ore, for the purpose of separating from rock.
  • transitive v. To reduce, as irregular blocks of stone, to an approximately level surface by hammering.
  • intransitive v. To give off spalls, or wedge-shaped chips; -- said of stone, as when badly set, with the weight thrown too much on the outer surface.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To split; splinter; chip; specifically, in mining, to chip or break up roughly, as ore, preparatory to sorting the material.
  • To keep (the frames of a ship) at their proper distance apart.
  • To splinter; chip; give off spalls.
  • n. A chip or splinter thrown off, as in chopping or hewing; now specifically, in masonry, a piece of stone chipped off by a blow of a hammer or mallet.
  • n. The shoulder.

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

  • n. a fragment broken off from the edge or face of stone or ore and having at least one thin edge

Etymologies

Middle English spalle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English spalle ("a chip") (first documented in 1440), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from the Middle English verb spald ("to split") (c.1400), from Middle Low German spalden, cognate with Old High German spaltan ("to split") (Wiktionary)
From Italian spalla. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term "spall" refers to large flakes, large flake fragments, and chunks.

    The Ancient Maya - A Commercial Empire

  • Commission engineers believe water seeping through joints on top of the bridge is causing the concrete along the bottom of the edge of the deck slabs to "spall," or weaken and flake,

    Gas Drilling

  • The bright-hammered melody of the flat-crank 4.5-liter V8, the fiery spall of the overrun note, the tach-rapping flexibility of the 9,000-rpm engine as you gear-bang the seven-speed dual clutch tranny—all of that is at a slight remove in the fixed-roof car.

    Ferrari 458 Italia Loses Its Top, Gains Hugely

  • When that water refreezes, it expands and exerts pressure on the walls of the pores, causing pieces to spall, or flake off.

    Can a deicer damage my driveway and harm my plants?

  • Bob withdrew, and a good thing too, as in seconds, maybe nanoseconds, a burst of automatic fire came hurtling his way to spall off the hood and spray randomly into the air, chewing up metallic debris, paint dust, and friction-driven sparks.

    A Bob Lee Swagger eBook Boxed Set

  • Us neoComs and anarchists kept busy, thrashing to some third-rate spall band on a packing-crate stage.

    365 tomorrows » One Step Forward… : A New Free Flash Fiction SciFi Story Every Day

  • Obsidian was primarily transferred in the form of spall.

    The Ancient Maya - A Commercial Empire

  • The quarrymen, placed at the most likely spots, were ordered to spall rock for specimens: with their usual perversity, they picked up, when unwatched, broken bits of useless stuff; they spent the whole day dawdling over three camel-loads, and they protested against being obliged to carry the sacks to their tents.

    The Land of Midian

  • The smallest flint chip or spall, the tiniest curled shaving of wood or bone, was buried inside the lean-to and covered with a roof plank or a piece of leather.

    The Plains of Passage

  • In practice concrete may successfully sustain somewhat elevated temperatures without serious effect, though if concrete contains siliceous aggregates, such as flint, it is likely to spall (7).

    Chapter 4

Comments

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  • featheredge

    August 25, 2009

  • Also refers as both a noun and a verb to bullet fragments that break off inside their target.

    July 18, 2008