General English


  • noun a good friend. The term has been in use among London teenagers since the 1990s and before that was heard in Wales. It may derive from ‘sparring-partner’. Star-spa is a variant form.


  • abbreviation forsocietà per azioni
    (written as SpA)
  • noun the Italian word for a public limited company.

Origin & History of “spa”

The town of Spa, in eastern Belgium, has medicinal mineral springs. they were discovered in the 14th century, and by the early 17th century were well enough known in Britain for the town’s name to be used as a generic term for ‘medicinal springs’. The present-day application to a ‘town containing such springs’ emerged towards the end of the 18th century.