ex·​pend | \ik-ˈspend \
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

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Other Words from expend

expender noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for expend


absorb, burn, consume, deplete, devour, drain, draw down, exhaust, play out, spend, use up


renew, replace

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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

Naming these desires will liberate more of your life force to expend energy creating rather than concealing. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes October 29-November 4," 28 Oct. 2018 After expending enormous resources, the Government has strained to find any legal theory…to transform NCAA rule violations into a conspiracy to commit federal wire fraud. Rebecca Davis O’brien, WSJ, "Criminal Trial to Cap Off Tumultuous Year in NCAA Basketball," 27 Sep. 2018 Sally fights primarily by spraying or injecting enemies with drugs, which means every single takedown requires expending limited resources. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "We Happy Few is a creepy, fascinating game that gets lost in its own ambition," 10 Aug. 2018 In the 23 drafts during Jeffrey Lurie’s ownership, the Eagles have expended five of 21 first-round selections on offensive linemen. Jeff Mclane, Philly.com, "Will Eagles finally find Jason Peters' replacement in NFL draft?," 25 Apr. 2018 By far the larger cost is the time, and resources, such a strategy expends. Lomi Kriel, Houston Chronicle, "Sessions orders 'zero tolerance' policy to prosecute migrants at border," 6 Apr. 2018 As Zatko recently recounted in a Twitter thread: The most effort was expended on trying to get them (and any political candidacy that would listen to me) to implement rudimentary OPSEC protocols. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "How they did it (and will likely try again): GRU hackers vs. US elections," 27 July 2018 However, experts say that is unlikely given the effort expended to develop those weapons, which Kim sees as guaranteeing the survival of his dynastic regime. Time, "Singapore's Sentosa Island Takes an Unlikely Geopolitical Role as Host of the Trump-Kim Summit," 11 June 2018 The sequence was disconcerting: the outcome of the process (a baby) so absurdly disproportionate to the blandness of the effort expended. Ellen Wayland-smith, Longreads, "Death Rattle: The Body’s Betrayals," 21 Mar. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for expend

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expend

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

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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 \
expended; expending

Kids Definition of expend

1 : to pay out : spend

2 : to use up He expended a lot of energy.

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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).


to enclose within walls

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