ersatz_read (ersatz_read) wrote in 1word1day,

Monday word: spinney

spinney (spn) noun
A small wood, thicket, or copse, possibly one that shelters game.

Etymology:  from Latin spina, thorn

There are many words for a small area of mostly trees or shrubs:  thicket, spinney, copse, coppice, brake....
Perhaps they all had distinct meanings back when the proper management of wooded areas was as crucial as the proper management of a garden or root cellar, but the modern definitions seem looser.
It seems that a spinney is a copse (small woodland) that shelters game, and a coppice is an area where the shrubs are cut for use.  A brake might be a clump of brush, briars, or broken trees, and a thicket might be a denser version of that.  A grove is a group of trees without undergrowth, or an orchard or stand of fruit-bearing trees.

My yard has many thickets, formed by neglect and disguised as "wildlife habitats", and many man-made brakes formed by dumping branches onto thickets.  I might be able to call the front lot line a spinney:  brush piles hidden between tangled rows of fruiting shrubs and small trees; it should be an excellent shelter for game.  I'd like to have a coppice someday, but that implies sufficient time to use what I've cut.
Tags: latin, noun, s, wordsmith: ersatz_read

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