\ 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

On July 10, 1989, severe thunderstorms spawned 17 tornadoes in the Northeast, with three in Connecticut. Gary Lessor,, "Sunny, Hot, Humid Conditions Tuesday," 9 July 2018 Mason Ramsey, the adorable 11-year-old whose version of a Hank Williams classic has been watched more than 50 million times on YouTube and spawned multiple remixes, will put out his first album on July 20. Kristin Hall, The Seattle Times, "Walmart yodel kid of viral video fame announces debut album," 9 July 2018 The discovery spawned an obsession that has lasted over a decade. Morgan Smith,, "Reclaimed art steals the spotlight at Loyola University Museum of Art's summer exhibitions," 6 July 2018 The film would spawn four sequels, which play in a row on Sundance: MAGNUM FORCE at 8:15, THE ENFORCER at 10:45, THE DEAD POOL at 12:45 a.m. and SUDDEN IMPACT at 2:45. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: Fireworks and ‘Captain America’," 4 July 2018 The partnership spawned after Bhagat introduced himself as a local business owner to the incoming Jessup, who took over as chief in January 2018. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "South Milwaukee Police add motorized, locally built 'Cheata Bike' to their relaunched bicycle patrol," 2 July 2018 Cantina Feliz spawned La Calaca Feliz in Fairmount and Taqueria Feliz in Manayunk — all done up in Day of the Dead decor and delivering familiar south-of-the-border flavors along with sparks of ambitiousness. Michael Klein,, "Cantina Feliz's mushroom huarache is a must," 28 June 2018 The 2018 primaries haven’t been a good cycle for candidates endorsed by either Bernie Sanders or the political group his movement spawned, Our Revolution. Chuck Todd, NBC News, "Here are seven storylines to watch in today's primaries and runoffs," 26 June 2018 Their incubation of community and spectator play spawned countless YouTube gaming channels. Lindsay Grace, Smithsonian, "The Original ‘Space Invaders’ is an Icon of 1970s America’s Deepest Fears," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Crappie – fair, spawn is over and the fish are hanging out around the deeper brush piles and Georgia cubes. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 July 2018 Let’s be clear: Voice mail is the evil spawn of the phone call. David Pierce, WSJ, "Phone Calls Are Dead. Voice Chat Is the Future.," 8 July 2018 The smallies are in the pre-spawn mode and aggressive. sacbee, "Fishing line: Sacramento River sees plenty of stripers and shad | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Apr. 2018 At Lewis Smith, the striper spawn is ending, and the fish are moving back out of the creeks and rivers toward the main lake--a return to standard tactics of slow-trolling live shad at 40 feet and more is now the best bet. Frank Sargeant,, "Friday Fishing Report," 12 Apr. 2018 Back in 2004, during the last big spawn, the mussels filtered Cattail Creek every 48 hours, Spadaro said. Tim Prudente,, "Explosion of false dark mussels revives hopes for clearer waters and concern for dogs in Anne Arundel County," 11 July 2018 But once the credits roll, what’s hardest to shake off isn’t the image of the Canker Man, but the faces of all the people who’ve been touched and terrified by Cody’s dream-spawns. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Netflix’s Before I Wake is the perfect film to stream after seeing Hereditary," 8 June 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


Phrases Related to spawn

spawning ground

Statistics for spawn

Last Updated

16 Sep 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

Comments on spawn

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a magnificent or impressive array

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