(1) ‘fence, hedge’; (2) (a) ‘thorn-hedge’; (b) ‘thorn bush, thorn hedge, thorn thicket’ (Modern English (1) spen; (2) spinney)
Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)
(1) spenni 'clasp'
Other Scandinavian Reflexes
Far spenni, Icel spenni, Norw spenne, Sw spänne
(1) cp. spannan ‘to join, link, fasten, attach’
Phonological and morphological markers
(1) These two Gaw occurrences are MED’s only citations of spenne with the specific sense ‘?A fence; ?a hedge used to enclose land’. It gives the word in the meaning ‘?a piece of land enclosed by a fence’ twice from the Lan. text (a1265) Deed Norris in LCRS 93 163, plus from Gaw 1074 and WA 4162, and without specific denotation from personal names in three 14c. N documents. (2a) OED’s earliest citation of spinney meaning ‘a small wood or copse’ (etc.) is from 1597, but there are instances of place-names formed on this element in ME records (e.g. Burthonspynay, Yks., 13c.) and a 12c. Yks. surname (see EPNE). MED (s.v. spīnē n.2) cites late 14c. and 15c. occurrences in the sense ‘a sweet dish made with hawthorn flowers’. (b) MED’s earliest citation of spīn(e) in the sense ‘thorn, thorn bush’ (etc.) is a1450(c1433) Lydg. St.Edm.(Hrl 2278). There are no compatible forms given in EPNE.
Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus
Gaw 1709, 1896