\ 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 Toward the end of their lives, the blood suckers return to freshwater to spawn and then die soon after, the post said. Alec Snyder, CNN, "A 'vampire fish' is spawning in Vermont's waters. Experts say most of them are nothing to worry about," 25 June 2020 In two seasons the series has generated more than 7 million followers on the social media platform and helped to spawn active discussion groups with more than 600,000 members. Brittney Oliver, Essence, "Jada Pinkett Smith’s Career Proves Success Isn’t A Straight And Narrow Path," 18 June 2020 All five Pacific salmon species spawn in the bay’s freshwater tributaries. Popular Science, "The battle over Alaska’s Pebble Mine is about to get more dramatic," 8 June 2020 Having enough people is paramount; there’s safety in numbers when posting on a topic that’s likely to spawn a vigorous online battle. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Can a Keyboard Crusade Stem the Vaccine Infodemic?," 15 June 2020 The hogchoker travels to freshwater springs before returning to the brackish bays and estuaries of its birth to spawn. National Geographic, "Flatfishes," 11 June 2020 After an oil well blowout near Santa Barbara, California, in 1969, public outrage helped spawn the first Earth Day and a quick succession of far-reaching federal environmental laws. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Deepwater Horizon: What we learned from worst oil spill ever," 10 June 2020 All five Pacific salmon species spawn in the bay’s freshwater tributaries. Popular Science, "The battle over Alaska’s Pebble Mine is about to get more dramatic," 8 June 2020 The storm could spawn heavy rains from East Texas to Florida this weekend and into early next week, the hurricane center said. Susan Miller, USA TODAY, "Tropical Storm Cristobal path moving closer to Gulf Coast; landfall expected today," 7 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Spring fishing for them during their spawn in shallow lake-side weeds and timber is a tradition throughout much of America. Popular Science, "A beginner’s guide to freshwater fishing," 1 June 2020 Before the spawn, bass cruise to feed and look for bedding sites. Mark Hicks, Field & Stream, "How to Sight Fish for Cruising Bass," 19 May 2020 This includes learning the spawn, migrations, and seasonal transitions. Kristtine Fischer, Outdoor Life, "How to Catch Big Fish from a Kayak," 6 May 2020 The corals first began generating spawn -- or giving birth -- in early April, and are still having babies over a week later. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "The Florida Aquarium just became the first in the world to reproduce ridged cactus coral in human care," 22 Apr. 2020 From Pickwick, Captain Brian Barton says bream have moved inshore for a second spawn, and can be found on hard sand or shell bottom in 1-4 feet in many bays and shorelines around the lake. Frank Sargeant,, "Friday Fishing Report: Bass are biting at Lake Guntersville," 21 June 2019 The son from Mississippi is the spawn of the Tenth Legion and Mr. Pittman’s early VHS tapes. Drew Palmer, Outdoor Life, "50 Hunter Stereotypes from Every State," 15 May 2020 Typically these events see increased Pokemon spawns and special Poke Stops all in one concentrated location. Michael Koczwara, The Hollywood Reporter, "Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Pokemon Go' Encourages Users to Stay at Home With Updated Events," 19 Mar. 2020 In the summer heat, after the panfish spawn has fish deep and sulking, a Copper John under a stout foam grasshopper is a one-two knockout punch to bluegill hanging tight along ledge drops and creek channels. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "The Best Flies for Catching Panfish," 12 Mar. 2020

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

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spawn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for spawn


How to pronounce spawn (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on spawn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spawn

Spanish Central: Translation of spawn

Nglish: Translation of spawn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spawn for Arabic Speakers

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