\ 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 increasing popularity of the Firm, particularly in America, has spawned armies of trolls who besiege any reporter who dares write anything less than glowing about the favorite royals. K.j. Yossman, Marie Claire, "Inside the Cutthroat World of Royal Gossips," 5 Sep. 2019 The sheer complexity of Brexit, and the need to distill it to readers via flow charts, has also spawned many satirical charts to illustrate the messiness of it all. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "These mind-bending flowcharts show just how messy Brexit has become," 3 Sep. 2019 The Beautyblender has spawned dupes with their own appeal, like the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge and the Juno & Co Microfiber Velvet Sponge. Allure, "11 Genius Ways to Use a Beautyblender," 7 Aug. 2019 The bigotry and elitism spewing out of the White House has spawned demands from the left for extreme socialist reform. Doug Friednash, The Denver Post, "Friednash: Denver’s AOC — Candi CdeBaca — has already shaken the city but could this disruptor rattle Congress too?," 4 Aug. 2019 The contentious debate has spawned the formation of an opposing group called Nod Preservation, Inc. — a conglomerate of residents and non-residents who have started a petition to prevent the development. Shannon Larson,, "Opponents speak out against Nod Road development at Avon hearing," 24 July 2019 Those missteps have spawned concern among many progressive voters and Democratic officials, such as Rep. John Yarmuth, who say that there should be a contested primary election next year. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "A Kentucky farmer, ex-Marine wants to challenge Mitch McConnell in 2020 US Senate race," 13 July 2019 Amid stagnating incomes and slow growth in economic opportunities, that perception has spawned some strange forms of protest, including at least one group that argues the Soviet Union still legally exists and its laws should be obeyed. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Putin flexes as ‘good czar,’ but can he remake Russia?," 1 July 2019 States that lead the demand for feminine hygiene products Product innovation The popularity of the devices has also spawned a number of startups like Carmesi, Nua, Heyday, and Azah, besides Visionaari. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "Online shopping is redefining how small-town Indian women deal with their periods," 30 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Almost any popular app spawns adware clones almost immediately—even FaceApp. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Adware Is the Malware You Should Actually Worry About," 21 July 2019 Surrounding nests with gravel and rocks may create a barrier against predators—like fish and shrimp, which feed on frog eggs and larvae—while also preventing fluctuating water levels from washing the spawn away. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "How Did the World’s Largest Frog Get So Big? Possibly by Building Its Own Ponds," 12 Aug. 2019 And no, the new iteration won’t follow Blair and Chuck’s hypothetical spawn in high school. Michele Corriston,, "Gossip Girl Creator Says Reboot Won’t Follow Kids of Original Characters: ‘We Ain’t That Old!’," 26 July 2019 Mad was the smart-aleck spawn of the age of mass media, when everyone watched the same networks, flocked to the same movies and saluted the same flag. David Von Drehle, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Mad magazine is dying — maybe we should worry," 7 July 2019 But each time a real celebrity or Instagram influencer type posts a pool selfie with a drink floatie, 100 more spawn and pop up in every above-ground pool from here to Corpus Christi. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "Summer’s Hottest Accessory Is... an Inflatable Drink Holder?," 24 June 2019 Gerry says most fish are shallow, in pre- spawn, spawning and post- spawning modes--the grassy bays are the places to fish at present, both up lake and down; Frank Sargeant,, "Friday Fishing Report," 27 Apr. 2018 On inland waters, bass fishermen are reporting excellent catches of post-spawn largemouth bass. D'arcy Egan,, "Lake Erie walleye fishing still rockin’ from Toledo to Conneaut: June 28 Fishing Report," 28 June 2019 However, after salmon spawn, weaken and die, bears return in high numbers in September. Dan Joling, Anchorage Daily News, "New bridge in Katmai National Park aimed at limiting bear encounters," 16 June 2019

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

14 Oct 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

Comments on spawn

What made you want to look up spawn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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