\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Our obsession with productiveness has spawned an entire industry. Akhila Satish, Quartz at Work, "Your productivity hacks are useless without this one essential theory," 28 Oct. 2019 Hadid's birthday celebration had more going on than a speculation-spawning reunion with her former boyfriend. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Bella Hadid and The Weeknd Aren't Getting Back Together After All," 13 Oct. 2019 Ultimately, the effort led salmon to return and spawn in the entire creek, according to the city’s environmental services bureau. oregonlive, "Portland salmon restoration project named finalist for global Bloomberg award," 2 Oct. 2019 As a rule, spinoffs almost never perform as well critically or commercially as the original series that spawned them. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "“Hobbs & Shaw” proves the Fast and Furious franchise will never crash and burn," 5 Aug. 2019 The mutation spawns a chain reaction of identity crises. Helena Oliviero, ajc, "Things to do in and around Atlanta on Tuesday, May 15," 14 May 2018 LAKE SONOMA Bassers are catching pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn bass right now so be prepared. sacbee, "Fishing line: Striper action takes off near Colusa and on Feather River | The Sacramento Bee," 23 Apr. 2018 The majority of walleye spawn on Lake Erie’s limestone rock reefs. D'arcy Egan,, "Lake Erie walleye boom’s cause is a mystery, but no one is complaining," 13 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 1999, Lutcavage published a theory that challenged the standard belief that all bluefin tuna spawn in the Gulf of Mexico, and then come north to fatten up., "In her garage lab, a scientist looks for answers about skinny tuna - The Boston Globe," 27 Sep. 2019 Perhaps concerns are overblown, and the spawn rate reduction will serve its purpose by keeping the mechs out of final circles and off the strategic chessboard. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Fortnite’s next tournament will also be its most controversial, thanks to mech suits," 16 Aug. 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spawn

Statistics for spawn

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for spawn

The first known use of spawn was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spawn


How to pronounce spawn (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!