adj., n.


 'cleverest (one)'

(Modern English spack)


Always derived from the ON adj. represented by OIcel spakr 'gentle, wise' (see also spakly (adv.) and spak (adv.)). This root does not occur elsewhere in Gmc, but a connection with the same Indo-European base as Croatian paziti 'to give heed to' is often suggested.

PGmc Ancestor

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

spakr (adj.) 'gentle, wise'
(ONP spakr (adj.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far spakur, Icel spakur, Norw spak, ODan spak, Dan spag, OSw skaper, Sw spak

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Attested from early ME: MED's first textual citation is from a1225(?a1200) Trin.Hom. (Trin-C B.14.52), and the surname <Spakeman> from 1197 may be another instance. The adj. survives in N dial of MnE (EDD, OED).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pat 169


MED spā̆ke (adj.) , OED3 spack (adj. and adv.) , HTOED , EDD spack (adj. and sb.), Bj. 220, de Vries spakr, Mag. spakur