Definition of Turnspit

1. Noun. A roasting spit that can be turned.

Generic synonyms: Spit

Definition of Turnspit

1. n. One who turns a spit; hence, a person engaged in some menial office.

Definition of Turnspit

1. Noun. A person employed in turning a spit for the purpose of roasting meat. ¹

2. Noun. (archaic) A short-legged, long-bodied dog, now extinct, bred to run on a wheel to turn a spit. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Turnspit

1. one that turns a roasting spit [n -S]

Medical Definition of Turnspit

1. 1. One who turns a spit; hence, a person engaged in some menial office. "His lordship is his majesty's turnspit." (Burke) 2. A small breed of dogs having a long body and short crooked legs. These dogs were formerly much used for turning a spit on which meat was roasting. Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Lexicographical Neighbors of Turnspit

turns loose
turns off
turns on
turns out
turns over
turns over a new leaf
turns the frown upside down
turns up
turnspit (current term)
turnstile attendance

Literary usage of Turnspit

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. England in the Days of Old by William Andrews (1897)
"turnspit. ONE of the most menial positions in an ancient feudal household was that of turnspit. A person too old or too young for more important duties ..."

2. A Descriptive and Historical Account of Hydraulic and Other Machines for by Thomas Ewbank (1851)
"... a turnspit, remarks, " it eats nothing, and gives withal an assurance to those partaking of the feast, whose suspicious natures nurse queasy appetites, ..."

3. The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper: Including the Series by Samuel Johnson (1810)
"Tell Envy, when she would annoy, That thousands want what you enjoy. " The dinner must be dish'd at one. Where's this vexatious turnspit gone ? ..."

4. Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians: Including Their Private Life by John Gardner Wilkinson (1842)
"The most common kinds were a sort of fox dog, and a hound ; they had also a short-legged dog, not unlike our turnspit, which was a great favourite in the ..."

5. The Old Inns of Old England: A Picturesque Account of the Ancient and by Charles George Harper (1906)
"... the "pleasant village" of Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire, where they found a " decent inn " in whose kitchen they remarked a dog acting as turnspit. ..."

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