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spen·cer 1

A trysail.

[Perhaps from the name Spencer.]

spen·cer 2

1. A short double-breasted overcoat worn by men in the early 1800s.
2. A close-fitting, waist-length jacket worn by women.

[After George John Spencer, Second Earl Spencer (1758-1834).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Clothing & Fashion) a short fitted coat or jacket
2. (Clothing & Fashion) a woman's knitted vest
[C18: named after Earl Spencer (1758–1834)]


(Nautical Terms) nautical a large loose-footed gaffsail on a square-rigger or barque
[C19: perhaps after the surname Spencer]


1. (Biography) Herbert. 1820–1903, English philosopher, who applied evolutionary theory to the study of society, favouring laissez-faire doctrines
2. (Biography) Sir Stanley. 1891–1959, English painter, noted esp for his paintings of Christ in a contemporary English setting
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈspɛn sər)

any of various close-fitting, usu. waist-length jackets worn in the 18th and 19th centuries.
[1790–1800; after German. J. Spencer (1758–1834), English earl]


(ˈspɛn sər)

a large gaff sail used abaft a square-rigged foremast or the mainmast of a ship or bark.
[1830–40; orig. uncertain]


(ˈspɛn sər)

Herbert, 1820–1903, English philosopher.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.spencer - English philosopher and sociologist who applied the theory of natural selection to human societies (1820-1903)Spencer - English philosopher and sociologist who applied the theory of natural selection to human societies (1820-1903)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Martin had heard Herbert Spencer quoted several times in the park, but one afternoon a disciple of Spencer's appeared, a seedy tramp with a dirty coat buttoned tightly at the throat to conceal the absence of a shirt.
Alexander Spencer was up here one day before Christmas and she said she was going to get a little girl from the asylum over in Hopeton in the spring.
Spencer I remembered enough to know that altruism was imperative to his ideal of highest conduct.
"Well, in that, at least, you're in agreement with Spencer, whom you dislike so much.
Spencer Whiles came of a family of successful tradespeople, and he was not used to such quiet magnificence as was everywhere displayed.
"Do you happen to recall Herbert Spencer's definition of 'Life'?
Even to call life "activity," or to define it further as "the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations," as Spencer has it, Nietzsche characterises as a "democratic idiosyncracy." He says to define it in this way, "is to mistake the true nature and function of life, which is Will to Power...Life is ESSENTIALLY appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of its own forms, incorporation and at least, putting it mildest, exploitation." Adaptation is merely a secondary activity, a mere re- activity (see Note on Chapter LVII.).
"Talking of Herbert Spencer," he began, "do you really find no logical difficulty in regarding Nature as a process of involution, passing from definite coherent homogeneity to indefinite incoherent heterogeneity?"
"Every one asks me what I 'think' of everything," said Spencer Brydon; "and I make answer as I can - begging or dodging the question, putting them off with any nonsense.
When I read Lowell's praises of him, I had all the will in the world to read Spencer, and I really meant to do so, but I have not done so to this day, and as often as I have tried I have found it impossible.
I've talked about theatres and music-halls, of events of the day, I've even--Heaven help me--talked of racing and football, but I might as well have talked of Herbert Spencer. I suppose I didn't talk about them in the right way.
"And then," continued Grandfather, "they wore various sorts of periwigs, such as the tie, the Spencer, the brigadier, the major, the Albemarle, the Ramillies, the feather-top, and the full-bottom.