\ 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

None pulled it off, but Southwest’s strategy spawned a low-cost airline revolution with copycat start-ups around the world. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Southwest Air’s Kelleher Created Quirky Style That Produced Reliable Profits," 4 Jan. 2019 Out of this fold in American spacetime, the new after-Christmas sales are re-spawned. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "The bleak hope of the day-after-Christmas sale," 27 Dec. 2018 Spongebob Squarepants has continued to air on Nickelodeon, spawning movie adaptations, video games, and a Broadway musical. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, ""Spongebob Squarepants" Creator Stephen Hillenburg Has Died at 57," 27 Nov. 2018 There are 40,000 of them in all, and the cumulative effect is an infinity room spawned in the more banal corners of Getty archives. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Paola Pivi’s Transporting Exhibition Is a Whimsical Comment on Dark Realities," 15 Nov. 2018 The storm has claimed at least 43 lives since slamming into the coast Sept. 14, spawning record flooding across North and South Carolina and leaving countless trees on residents homes. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Hurricane Florence aftermath sees North Carolina residents stepping up, helping out neighbors," 24 Sep. 2018 The Uihleins have made big donations to various super PACS and other groups that support him and attack his opponents, perhaps testing the concept of whether big money — theirs — can spawn, nurture and deliver a winning candidate. Stephanie Saul, New York Times, "The Most Powerful Conservative Couple You’ve Never Heard Of," 7 June 2018 Its popularity spawned imitators and opening the door for Lee to introduce new projects that adhered to a similar template. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Remembering Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics Legend, Dies at 95," 12 Nov. 2018 Who knows, maybe the IRL reunion will spawn some fan-fiction where Belle and Gaston are friends and attend tennis matches together. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, ""Beauty and the Beast" Stars Emma Watson and Luke Evans Reunited at Wimbledon," 15 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

21 Jan 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 \
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 complex dispute or argument

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