\ ˈspāt How to pronounce spate (audio) \

Definition of spate

1 : freshet, flood
2a : a large number or amount a spate of books on gardening
b : a sudden or strong outburst : rush a spate of anger

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Examples of spate in a Sentence

A spate of books on the subject have come out recently. There was a spate of corporate mergers in the 1980s.

Recent Examples on the Web

Oregon has endured a spate of layoffs in the past two weeks, with substantial cuts at Union Pacific’s facilities near Hermiston, Harry’s Fresh Foods in Portland, and Stimson Lumber near Forest Grove. Mike Rogoway,, "Drone maker Insitu will lay off more than 200," 4 June 2019 An offensive lineman who battled a spate of injuries throughout his career, Stone Sr. made three Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro teams and won a pair of Super Bowls – XXVII and XXX – with the Cowboys in the mid-1990s. Theo Lawson, The Seattle Times, "Ron Stone Jr. or R.J.? He doesn’t care what you call him, but he wants to make a name for himself at Washington State," 12 Apr. 2019 Trump’s approval rating was nearly as low on international trade following the spate of recent tariffs his administration has imposed on Mexico, China, Europe and Canada. Alana Abramson, Time, "Most Americans Don't Approve of Trump's Immigration Policies, Poll Finds," 6 July 2018 There was one spate where films about women were being sent to us, and the woman’s triumph was to stop cutting herself, or to get released from a psych ward. Caryn James, WSJ, "A Return to the Spotlight for ‘Winter’s Bone’ Director," 20 June 2018 An article on Tuesday about a spate of Guinea worm infections in dogs described incorrectly the size of Hoplobatrachus occipitalis, the bullfrogs occasionally consumed by villagers in Chad. New York Times, "Corrections: June 20, 2018," 19 June 2018 But Sunday showed what a great day of football is like—though, again, the league has to do something about the spate of endless minor infractions getting flagged. Peter King,, "Raiders are Scary and Good," 1 Nov. 2016 Another spate of deaths occurred at the jail in 2015. Chad Sokol, The Seattle Times, "Spokane County Jail removing bedsheets, hiring suicide-prevention expert after 3 inmates hang themselves in a year," 1 July 2018 Calls for women’s submission are as old as the Bible, but preaching the practice became a profitable endeavor for a spate of ministries beginning in the 1970s. Sarah Stankorb, Marie Claire, "The Daughters' Great Escape," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spate.' 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 spate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spate

Middle English

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Statistics for spate

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for spate

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

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English Language Learners Definition of spate

: a large number of things that appear or happen in a short period of time

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More from Merriam-Webster on spate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spate

Spanish Central: Translation of spate

Nglish: Translation of spate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on spate

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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