\ 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 The effort helped spawn hundreds of startups and boosted the share of EVs to more than 8% of new-car sales by mid-2019. William Boston, WSJ, "How Europe Became the World’s Biggest Electric-Car Market—and Why It Might Not Last," 28 Feb. 2021 In this vision, universes endlessly spawn new universes, each with its own Big Bang beginning. Alan Lightman, The Atlantic, "‘It Seems That I Know How the Universe Originated’," 8 Feb. 2021 This is a very slow-moving storm, and the upper levels of the atmosphere will spawn another low-pressure area in the Gulf of Maine Tuesday. Dave Epstein,, "Some parts of Mass. will see up to 18 inches of snow," 1 Feb. 2021 The front combined with above-average temperatures today could spawn a few storms, and a few of those could approach severe limits. Leigh Morgan, al, "Isolated strong storms possible in parts of Alabama today," 25 Jan. 2021 The not-so-sudden success of Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will spawn many imitators around the N.F.L. New York Times, "Will N.F.L. Teams Learn the Right Lessons From Josh Allen’s Success?," 14 Jan. 2021 Under current law, up to 12 million Americans could lose their jobless benefits by year's end — a wretched Christmastime for millions of families, which could spawn a wave of depression, morbidity, family breakdown and suicide. David Brooks, Star Tribune, "Pandemic relief is a make-or-break moment," 4 Dec. 2020 President Biden’s quick but cautious moves to undo the more draconian immigration policies of his predecessor spawn both trepidation and expectation in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Dudley Althaus,, "Biden’s border plans raise hopes and fears in South Texas," 23 Jan. 2021 This tactic will spawn imitators, and not only among governments. Mike Rogers, WSJ, "The Cyber Threat Is Real and Growing," 20 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The servers are behind a little door with a chest spawn in it. Dave Thier, Forbes, "‘Fortnite’ Surface Hub Location: Where To Scan A Server At A Surface Hub," 25 Feb. 2021 Steelhead trout in the rivers will take a small bead that looks like a salmon egg, small marabou jigs tipped with maggots, waxworms, spawn bags, and small minnows. cleveland, "Arctic weather provides angling opportunities: NE Ohio fishing report for weekend of Feb. 12-14," 11 Feb. 2021 Western museums for centuries made a spectacle of cultures outside of Europe (and the continent’s immediate spawn) in the worst of ways: fetishized as exotica, or superficial ethnographic cliché. Murray Whyte,, "At Peabody Essex, a reset on South Asian art," 14 Jan. 2021 If and Zoom had a baby, would be their lovely 8-bit spawn. Sandra Gutierrez G., Popular Science, "These apps bring the magic of a house party online," 10 Jan. 2021 The reefs would be closed to harvest and used strictly to breed spawn and increase larvae. Halle Parker | Staff Writer,, "After several challenging years, two state plans may shake up Louisiana's oyster industry," 8 Dec. 2020 And Zhùr’s den wasn’t far from the Klondike River, where Chinook salmon spawn today. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Yukon gold miner unearths a mummified Ice Age wolf pup," 22 Dec. 2020 Dead-drifting spawn bags and jig-maggot rigs have been catching fish on spinning tackle. cleveland, "The fat lady isn’t even warming up her vocal chords yet: NE Ohio fishing reports for weekend of Dec. 18-20," 17 Dec. 2020 In the virtual courtroom and on the campaign trail, Williams portrayed his prosecution as the spawn of malevolent intent from outgoing District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, a frequent political sparring partner. John Simerman,, "Jason Williams' law partner, Nicole Burdett, indicted separately, accused of fudging own taxes," 9 Dec. 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

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spawn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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

Nglish: Translation of spawn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spawn for Arabic Speakers

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