\ˈspȯn, 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


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


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

Further Reading Marvel Comics legend, Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko found dead at 90 Indisputably, Lee's decades-spanning career has spawned some of the most beloved pop-culture characters and franchises of all time. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Legendary Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee has died," 12 Nov. 2018 Judging by the fans’ loud singalongs to the three chart-topping hits his first album has spawned, Combs will have a few more trucks and won’t be opening for anyone next time in town. Erik Ernst, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blake Shelton may have gone Hollywood, but he shows at Summerfest that he's still country," 6 July 2018 The imbalance has spawned some interesting anecdotes among employers, with some apparently warming up to the idea of hiring less experienced workers or ex-convicts— groups that are often among overlooked. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Discover to Offer Full-Ride Online Bachelor's Degrees," 12 June 2018 The iconic arcade game Frogger was first launched in 1981 and has spawned dozens of sequels and various iterations on multiple consoles over the past three-plus decades. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "Konami's 'Contra', 'Frogger' and 'Bomberman' Franchises to Expand Under New Deal (Exclusive)," 1 June 2018 But the companies’ practices have spawned lawsuits and concerns by some doctors who say that policies that restrict access to the machines could have serious, or even deadly, consequences for patients with severe conditions. Marshall Allen, Ars Technica, "You snooze, you lose: Insurers make the old adage literally true," 21 Nov. 2018 Sales that are tied to a day Our general craving for a good deal has spawned countless shopping days that are basically national holidays. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Two experts explain the psychology of sales, coupons, and gifting.," 9 Nov. 2018 The younger generation’s radical solution—dubbed Financial Independence, Retire Early—has spawned an ecosystem of podcasts, blogs, books, conferences and informal discussion groups. Veronica Dagher, WSJ, "The New Retirement Plan: Save Almost Everything, Spend Virtually Nothing," 3 Nov. 2018 Since then, bitcoin’s rising popularity has spawned many other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "On bitcoin’s 10th birthday, JP Morgan CEO says he doesn’t ‘really give a shit’ about it," 31 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Catches have been minimal thus far, but should pick up as the spawn progresses. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star Tyler Mahoney,, kansascity, "Fishing report: Things have been slow because of weather | The Kansas City Star," 11 Apr. 2018 These abilities range from the offensive, like a powerful cluster grenade; to the defensive, like a massive anti-personnel shield; plus additional supportive abilities, like the ability to create a new spawn point for your team as well. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review: War games, now with battle royale!," 19 Oct. 2018 The catfish spawn is winding down and the fish will move off the banks to deeper water. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 July 2018 The pre-spawn migration typically continues until the water approaches 60 degrees, at which point the fish move shallow and begin to fan the beds, bringing on the need for a whole other approach to get a lure in front of them. Cheryl Wray,, "NASCAR Daytona qualifying, Auto Parts Clash live stream, TV, time, lineup," 11 Feb. 2018 Blue catfish - are in full spawn mode and spotty but still catchable; crappie- out on flats and picking them up deeper, 16 feet down suspended in 25-40 feet water around shad balls. Tyler Mahoney, kansascity, "Fishing report: Holiday week brings plenty of hits, some misses," 4 July 2018 Wine-cap mushrooms, grown with spawn tossed in layers of woody mulch under trees or in garden beds, can emerge in just a few months. Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ, "Don’t Forget to Water the Logs: Mushrooms Are in for Home Gardens," 11 June 2018 Last spring, Al Gracian planted wine cap mushroom spawn beneath five beds of bushes, herbs and asparagus at his home in Pittsburgh. Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ, "Don’t Forget to Water the Logs: Mushrooms Are in for Home Gardens," 11 June 2018 Bait fishermen are casting spawn sacks, minnows, small lead-head jigs tipped with maggots or waxworms and small plastic lures., "D'Arcy Egan fishing report for May 3: Walleye biting, steelhead hanging around," 3 May 2018

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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Learn More about spawn

Dictionary Entries near spawn






spawning ground


Statistics for spawn

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spawn

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

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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 \
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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