the action of a person seeking to regain his balance when falling;
a helpless struggle ...Bk1904 Eng. dial.
1. to struggle helplessly or ineffectually; to sprawl; to kick about helplessly;
to struggle to rise after a fall, etc. ...1829 Eng. dial.
2. to hoe roughly; to loosen weeds with a hoe ...Bk1904 Eng. dial.
possibly a variant of either spartle (vb. to move the body or limbs in a sprawling or struggling manner), or sprattle (vb. to scramble, to struggle)
FIRST DOCUMENTED USE
1829 - Sprottle, to struggle with inefficacious vehemence.
From: The Hallamshire Glossary
- Joseph Hunter
"...The prisoner was drawing a knife across her throat, and said, "My Wilfred and me is going home together." The child was sprottling, and she ran out and called for assistance..."
From: The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
18 Nov 1876, Sat - Page 3