Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb, \ˈspend\

Simple Definition of spend

  • : to use (money) to pay for something

  • : to allow (time) to pass in a particular place or while doing a particular activity

  • : to use (energy or effort) to do something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of spend

spent play \ˈspent\ spending

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to use up or pay out :  expend

  3. 2a :  exhaust, wear out <the hurricane gradually spent itself>b :  to consume wastefully :  squander <the waters are not ours to spend — J. R. Ellis>

  4. 3 :  to cause or permit to elapse :  pass <spend the night>

  5. 4 :  give up, sacrifice

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 :  to expend or waste wealth or strength

  8. 2 :  to become expended or consumed

  9. 3 :  to have an orgasm

spendable play \ˈspen-də-bəl\ adjective
spender noun

Examples of spend in a sentence

  1. I spent $30 on his birthday gift.

  2. They spend a lot on clothes and cars.

  3. I want to buy a new car, but I don't have much money to spend.

  4. Her willingness to spend freely made her popular among her friends.

  5. He spends lavishly on vacations.

  6. I spent my summer at the beach.

  7. She spent eight months living in New York City.

  8. Relaxing with friends is a great way to spend a weekend.

  9. Our cat spends most of his time sleeping.

  10. Too much of my time is spent arguing with customers.

Origin of spend

Middle English, from Old English -spendan, from Medieval Latin expendere to disburse, use up, from Latin, to measure by weight, pay out — more at expend

First Known Use: 13th century

Rhymes with spend

SPEND Defined for Kids


verb \ˈspend\

Definition of spend for Students

spent \ˈspent\spending

  1. 1 :  to use (money) to pay for something

  2. 2 :  to cause or allow (as time) to pass <… he parked his car … and was spending considerable time walking about town. — Robert McCloskey, Homer Price>

  3. 3 :  to use wastefully :  squander <She spends a lot of energy worrying.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up spend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove soothe reduce perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.