\ ˈspȯn How to pronounce spawn (audio) , ˈspän \
spawned; spawning; spawns

Definition of spawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to deposit or fertilize spawn
2 : to produce young especially in large numbers

transitive verb

1a : to produce or deposit (eggs) used of an aquatic animal
b : to induce (fish) to spawn
c : to plant with mushroom spawn
2 : bring forth, generate the idea spawned controversy



Definition of spawn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the eggs of aquatic animals (such as fishes or oysters) that lay many small eggs
2 : product, offspring also : offspring in great numbers
3 : the seed, germ, or source of something
4 : mycelium especially prepared (as in bricks) for propagating mushrooms

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Other Words from spawn


spawner noun

Examples of spawn in a Sentence

Verb The health-food craze spawned a multimillion-dollar industry. the incident that spawned a generation of student protests a TV show that spawned a host of imitations Noun Pacific salmon return to Alaskan streams to deposit their spawn. sometimes I think those little brats are the spawn of Satan himself
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hodin’s team first tried to induce the sea stars to spawn by injecting their gonads with a hormone. Todd Woody, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists are breeding sea stars in a lab in a Jurassic Park approach to combating climate change," 3 May 2021 Once salmon enter their native watershed, some spawn immediately and others travel a thousand miles or more upriver. New York Times, "On the Water in Alaska, Where Salmon Fishing Dreams Live On," 19 Apr. 2021 One reason size matters is that larger, older fish spawn prolifically and make populations more productive and resilient. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Massive collapse of Atlantic cod didn’t leave evolutionary scars," 7 Apr. 2021 The fish are taking minnows fished next to cover in 4 to 8 feet, also some are post-spawn and moved out to the creek channels, where they can be caught by trolling Jiffy Jigs at 6 to 10 foot depths. Frank Sargeant, al, "Alabama Friday fishing report," 29 Apr. 2021 Bluegills will follow 2-3 weeks later and spawn repeatedly throughout the summer in some waters peaking around the lunar calendar of the full moon. Jim Gronaw,, "Jim Gronaw: When bass want small baits | OUTDOORS COMMENTARY," 24 Apr. 2021 While wild coho spawn on their own in Marin County’s Lagunitas Creek, the population in Santa Cruz County is too precarious to rely on nature alone. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Saved from devastating Santa Cruz fire, young salmon must now survive the ocean," 23 Apr. 2021 Gradually losing its matter and energy with which to spawn new stars and eventually fading into nothing. Mike Wehner, BGR, "This dying galaxy is strangely beautiful," 12 Apr. 2021 But scientists still struggle to say with certainty when and where a tornado will form, or why some storms spawn twisters and neighboring storms don’t. Taylor Umlauf, WSJ, "Violent Tornado in Georgia Destroys One Side of a Street, Spares the Other," 27 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Maybe the spawn of these two lovebirds will go on to cure the zombie outbreak or something. Erik Kain, Forbes, "‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Season 6, Episode 12 Review: Pretty In Pink," 9 May 2021 As walleye move to open water to feed after the spawn, fishermen target the suspended walleye by drifting over the schools of walleye and counting down their lures to where walleye are feeding. D'arcy Egan, cleveland, "Virtual Children’s Fishing Derby begins Friday: NE Ohio fishing report for weekend of May 7-9," 6 May 2021 Experts are hopeful the restrictive bag will take some fishing pressure off mature fish during the spawn and aid in their recovery. Dallas News, "Regulation changes hunters, anglers should make note of," 24 Apr. 2021 The fish was fat and ready for the spawn and darted off with a splash upon release. Jim Gronaw,, "Jim Gronaw: When bass want small baits | OUTDOORS COMMENTARY," 24 Apr. 2021 Typically only one-tenth of 1% of the fish that are released return to spawn in the Scott Creek watershed, meaning 20 or 30 adults in a typical year, Kittel said. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Saved from devastating Santa Cruz fire, young salmon must now survive the ocean," 23 Apr. 2021 Water is still high and murky at Lewis Smith but starting to clear in some portions—look for spots to be spawning or pre-spawn in the bays at 6 to 12 feet, while largemouths are on the shores up the feeder rivers around stumps and woody cover. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday fishing report for Alabama," 16 Apr. 2021 The next month will see the major bass spawn, so water anywhere from 1 to 4 feet deep with hard bottom, stumps, docks or other cover will likely draw the fish. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday fishing report for Alabama," 2 Apr. 2021 The frequently hang around woody cover during and after the spring spawn, which takes place from late February through early April depending on the area of the state, with the more northerly spawns coming later. Frank Sargeant, al, "Spring crappie bite is on in Alabama," 24 Mar. 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spawn


Middle English, from Anglo-French espandre to spread out, shed, scatter, spawn, from Latin expandere to expand

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Time Traveler for spawn

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for spawn

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spawn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for spawn



English Language Learners Definition of spawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to produce or lay eggs in water
: to cause (something) to develop or begin : to produce or create (something)



English Language Learners Definition of spawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: the eggs of a fish or frog


\ ˈspȯn How to pronounce spawn (audio) \
spawned; spawning

Kids Definition of spawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to produce or deposit a large number of eggs Salmon swim up rivers to spawn.



Kids Definition of spawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: the many small eggs of an animal (as a fish or frog) that are deposited in water

More from Merriam-Webster on spawn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spawn

Nglish: Translation of spawn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spawn for Arabic Speakers

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