Definitions

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

  • n. Chiefly British A small grove; a copse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small copse or wood, especially one planted as a shelter for game birds.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as spinny.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small wood with undergrowth; a clump of trees or shrubs; a small grove or shrubbery.

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

  • n. a copse that shelters game

Etymologies

Obsolete French espinoi, from Old French espinei, thorny place, from Vulgar Latin *spīnēta, pl. of Latin spīnētum, thorn hedge, from spīna, thorn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English spenné, from Middle French espinoye ("thorney thicket"), espinaye, from Latin spīnētum ("thorney thicket"), from Latin spīna ("thorn"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The spinney was a mixture of beech, ash, sycamore and elm, more recent planting than the woodland they'd been in the previous night.

    A Place of Execution

  • I was here alone in a lonely field, at nine of the clock on a winter night, and there, flittering and gliding through the spinney was a something in white.

    The Yeoman Adventurer

  • We blew the road and retreated and things went a little quieter, the Northumberland Hussars covered us while we retreated and as we had not slept for 3days and nights, we pulled into a little spinney and had some food, a wash, and slept.

    John Keay

  • The samples of his verse that Mr. Hollinghurst invents are perfectly pitched to be good but not great: "The spinney where the lisping larches / Kiss overhead in silver arches / And in their shadows lovers too / Might kiss and tell their secrets through," is a typical jingling passage.

    The (Private) Lives of the Poets

  • Procurement struggles are like knife fights in a dark alley: no time to show weakness. recommendation to obama: put chuck spinney in charge.

    War With No Mercy | ATTACKERMAN

  • Then its time I showed ya, spinney fish, came a gravelly mans voice I didnt recognize.

    The Soldiers of Halla

  • That spinney head, Spader thought as he and Per both raced toward the bow of the vessel.

    Pendragon: Before the War: Book One of the Travelers

  • By the time they got the pipe back together, Spader noticed that the deck wasnt bucking like a crazed spinney fish anymore.

    Pendragon: Before the War: Book One of the Travelers

  • Like when you trip over an old plough left in a spinney between fields, and when you've finished having a good swear you discover the maker's name embossed on a crossbar shouting back at you, albeit somewhat rustily.

    Back to Nature

  • So it is that this old mother tree with an apronful of children is forever growing down to the lawns and propagating young, so that when she eventually dies they will already have grown up and become a spinney.

    Wildwood

Comments

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  • "In the middle distance beyond the wide lawn a large house stood, all honey- colored stone and gray slate, adorned with chimneys and gables and towers and roofs and sub- roofs. In the center, over the main house, was a tall, stately clock tower that struck even Quentin as an odd addition to what otherwise looked like a private residence. The clock was in the Venetian style: a single barbed hand circling a face with twenty- four hours marked on it in Roman numerals. Over one wing rose what looked like the green oxidized- copper dome of an observatory. Between house and lawn was a series of inviting landscaped terraces and spinneys and hedges and fountains. Between house and lawn was a series of inviting landscaped terraces and spinneys and hedges and fountains."
    - The Magicians by Lev Grossman, p 16

    October 5, 2009

  • "And the Trust had long since agreed that it could do little better than see the whole business of thinning the woods, etc., as, well, as tit-for-tat: they would pay nothing for the cutting-back of the various copses and spinneys; and in turn the various wood-cutters and carters would receive the proceeds from the tens of thousands of assorted tree-trunks that were annually removed from Wytham Woods."
    - Colin Dexter, 'The Way Through The Woods'.

    November 1, 2008