WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
sprit (sprit),USA pronunciation n. [Naut.]
  1. Nautical, Naval Termsa small pole or spar crossing a fore-and-aft sail diagonally from the mast to the upper aftermost corner, serving to extend the sail.
  • bef. 900; Middle English spret, Old English sprēot; cognate with Dutch, German Spriet; akin to sprout

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

sprit /sprɪt/ n
  1. a light spar pivoted at the mast and crossing a fore-and-aft quadrilateral sail diagonally to the peak
Etymology: Old English spreot; related to Old High German spriuzen to support, Dutch spriet sprit, Norwegian sprӯta

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