Spruce is a verb that means you pay special attention to your personal appearance, especially your grooming and clothing. If you want to spruce up for a wedding, you'll need to rent a tuxedo and do something with your hair.

Spruce can also mean that you're making something else look better. You might spruce up the living room before your girlfriend's visit by vacuuming, throwing away all the trash, and putting away the dishes you left sitting around. Spruce is typically used in combination with the word up: spruce up. Spruce's use as a verb possibly originated from "spruce leather," which was used to make a popular type of jacket back in the 1400s.

Definitions of spruce
  1. noun
    any coniferous tree of the genus Picea
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    Norway spruce, Picea abies
    tall pyramidal spruce native to northern Europe having dark green foliage on spreading branches with pendulous branchlets and long pendulous cones
    Brewer's spruce, Picea breweriana, weeping spruce
    medium-sized spruce of California and Oregon having pendulous branches
    Engelmann spruce, Engelmann's spruce, Picea engelmannii
    tall spruce of Rocky Mountains and British Columbia with blue-green needles and acutely conic crown; wood used for rough lumber and boxes
    Picea glauca, white spruce
    medium-sized spruce of northeastern North America having short blue-green leaves and slender cones
    Picea mariana, black spruce, spruce pine
    small spruce of boggy areas of northeastern North America having spreading branches with dense foliage; inferior wood
    Picea obovata, Siberian spruce
    tall spruce of northern Europe and Asia; resembles Norway spruce
    Picea sitchensis, Sitka spruce
    a large spruce that grows only along the northwestern coast of the United States and Canada; has sharp stiff needles and thin bark; the wood has a high ratio of strength to weight
    Picea orientalis, oriental spruce
    evergreen tree of the Caucasus and Asia Minor used as an ornamental having pendulous branchlets
    Colorado blue spruce, Colorado spruce, Picea pungens, silver spruce
    tall spruce with blue-green needles and dense conic crown; older trees become columnar with lower branches sweeping downward
    Picea rubens, eastern spruce, red spruce, yellow spruce
    medium-sized spruce of eastern North America; chief lumber spruce of the area; source of pulpwood
    type of:
    conifer, coniferous tree
    any gymnospermous tree or shrub bearing cones
  2. noun
    light soft moderately strong wood of spruce trees; used especially for timbers and millwork
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    type of:
    the hard fibrous lignified substance under the bark of trees
  3. adjective
    marked by up-to-dateness in dress and manners
    synonyms: dapper, dashing, jaunty, natty, raffish, rakish, snappy, spiffy
    fashionable, stylish
    being or in accordance with current social fashions
  4. verb
    make neat, smart, or trim
    Spruce up your house for Spring”
    synonyms: slick up, smarten up, spiff up, spruce up, titivate, tittivate
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    type of:
    beautify, embellish, fancify, prettify
    make more beautiful
  5. verb
    dress and groom with particular care, as for a special occasion
    “He spruced up for the party”
    synonyms: slick up, smarten up, spruce up
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    type of:
    groom, neaten
    care for one's external appearance
Commonly confused words

Vocabulary Shout-Out: Anthony Lane for "Spruce" (Adj.)

Film critic Anthony Lane uses spruce in its rare, adjectival form in a review of "Fast & Furious 6" in this week's New Yorker.

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