\ 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


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

The sisters have spawned multiple successful beauty empires in Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty, Khloé Kardashian is chugging away with Good American, Kourtney Kardashian just got Poosh off the ground... Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Kendall Jenner Filed a Trademark and Is Reportedly Launching Her Own Beauty Brand," 10 May 2019 Throughout history, Mario has always gotten more shine, but Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s signature character was wildly successful in his own right, spawning tons of sequels, spinoffs, and TV series throughout his glory days in the 1990s. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "5 Reasons Why the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Will Be Better Than the Internet Thinks," 30 Apr. 2019 The ruling was supposed to conclude the NCAA issues, though the case spawned an offshoot probe into a more serious concern: nearly two decades of irregular courses in an academic department popular with athletes across numerous sports. Aaron Beard, The Seattle Times, "Mack Brown eager to ‘fix things’ in taking over Tar Heels," 27 Nov. 2018 Each successful run opens up more options for equipment and spawn locations, and missions are playable in any order, regardless of the story. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Hitman 2 review: Accessible stealth oozing with style," 16 Nov. 2018 Her look was the talk of the internet, even spawning its own parody Facebook account (which has sadly since been taken down). Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Who Is the Queen's Granddaughter, Princess Beatrice?," 13 Oct. 2018 Disney Channel’s original movie series, The Descendants, has become wildly popular since the first movie premiered in 2015, spawning two films, toys, and Halloween costumes — and making its stars famous. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, ""Descendants 3" Confirmed This "Jungle Book" Character Isn't Mal's Father," 15 Aug. 2018 Even more, reports Cara Giaimo at Atlas Obscura, recent research shows that new regional accents are being created, with immigration into the city of Liberal, Kansas, spawning its own linguistic style. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "This Town In Kansas Has Its Own Unique Accent," 18 June 2018 That video has already spawned a meme featuring her dance moves set to Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Justin Beiber. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Responded to Right Wing Outrage About Her Dancing with a New Dancing Video," 4 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The first taste of evening was escalope de saumon à l’oseille prepared by Chef César Troisgros, the black bearded and handsome spawn of the culinary dynasty that has dominated French cuisine for nearly a century. Ian Malone, Vogue, "Daniel Bouloud Hosts a Decadent Dinner in Support of Citymeals on Wheels," 12 Mar. 2019 Black bass – will be good over the next couple of weeks with the smallmouth bass moving into rocky and sandy coves for their annual spawn. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Area water bodies welcome warming weather, improving prospects | The Kansas City Star," 25 Apr. 2018 Unlike her predecessor, Lorelai Gilmore, Midge isn’t cathected to her spawn, who are kept to the margins of the show. Marjorie Ingall, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 4 Dec. 2018 Your kindly old neighbors were secret Satanists ready to impregnate you with the devil’s spawn. Thomas Mallon, WSJ, "‘The Dakota Winters’ Review: Uptown in the ’80s," 30 Nov. 2018 Adding fresh spawn annually will ensure that the mycelium stays vigorous. Sunset, "How to Grow Mushrooms," 22 Jan. 2018 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

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

13 May 2019

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 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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