ex·​pend | \ ik-ˈspend How to pronounce expend (audio) \
expended; expending; expends

Definition of expend

transitive verb

1 : to pay out : spend the social services upon which public revenue is expended— J. A. Hobson
2 : to make use of for a specific purpose : utilize projects on which they expended great energy also : use up

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from expend

expender noun

Examples of expend in a Sentence

Are we willing to expend the time and resources required to solve the problem? redecoration will have to wait, since we've just expended our last dollar in buying the house

Recent Examples on the Web

Some city officials, including the police superintendent, were angry that prosecutors dropped the charges and adamant that Mr. Smollett should pay more, given the many hours of detective work expended on the case. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "Jussie Smollett Case: What Do We Know, and What’s Left to Investigate?," 1 July 2019 Deputies located at least one expended bullet casing at the scene of the shooting. Mark Gomez, The Mercury News, "Man injured when argument leads to shooting off Highway 17 near Los Gatos," 12 June 2019 Officers responded to multiple reports of shots fired and found more than 30 expended casings in various calibers strewn about the scene, police said. Lauren Hernández, SFChronicle.com, "Video shows four suspects firing guns on a Vallejo street, police asking for help," 5 June 2019 His company is expending time and energy to get a dysfunctional U.S. government bureaucracy to remove him from the list. Michael C. Child, WSJ, "An American Is Mislabeled a ‘Russian Oligarch’," 30 Aug. 2018 The Eagles would be more willing to expend a second-round pick on a running back. Jeff Mclane, Philly.com, "Why did the Eagles trade back with the Ravens and what's there for them in the second round of the NFL draft?," 27 Apr. 2018 But that might be difficult for many who expended so much energy to get to Wisconsin and can't find food to replenish. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Robins, purple martins and other birds in peril from weekend snowstorm," 17 Apr. 2018 Other organizations in the Biden universe behave similarly, expending much of their income on staff salaries and little on their ostensible function. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "No Joe!," 10 June 2019 Single Geminis shouldn't expend too much of their energy or fret over their encounters with love interests. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, "Your Horoscope This Week," 9 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of expend

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expend

Middle English, from Latin expendere to weigh out, expend, from ex- + pendere to weigh — more at spin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about expend

Statistics for expend

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expend

The first known use of expend was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for expend



English Language Learners Definition of expend

: to use or spend (something)
: to use (time, energy, effort, etc.) for a particular purpose


ex·​pend | \ ik-ˈspend How to pronounce expend (audio) \
expended; expending

Kids Definition of expend

1 : to pay out : spend
2 : to use up He expended a lot of energy.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on expend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with expend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for expend

Spanish Central: Translation of expend

Nglish: Translation of expend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on expend

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


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!