sprießen

Meanings

1.
to sprout
(What plants and leaves do in spring.)

Word Family

Root: *(s)p(h)er-

The core idea of this root was:

strewing, spraying, scattering in small pieces, sowing

Think of blowing on a dandelion in its white stage, or slapping the hand onto a REALLY dusty old sofa.
The original sense is pretty visible in words like to spray, sprout, spurt, sprawl and spritz. 

Here’s an incomplete list of the English family members:

  • to spray 
  • spritz (import from German “spritzen”)
  • to spread (focused on “distribution”, after a burst, cousin of German “spreizen” which is to straddle)
  • to sprout (variation of “spread”, in the sense of growing)
  •  spore (“a small seed spreading”)
  • sperm (“what is sown”, used to refer also to seeds in ancient Greek)
  • sparse (“spread out” with a focus on lack)
  • disperse (“distribute, spread out” with a focus on low density)
  • intersperse (“sprinkle/strew in between”)

 

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