\ ˈspā How to pronounce spay (audio) , nonstandard ˈspād\
spayed\ ˈspād How to pronounce spayed (audio) , nonstandard  ˈspā-​dəd \; spaying\ ˈspā-​iŋ How to pronounce spaying (audio) , nonstandard  ˈspā-​diŋ \

Definition of spay

transitive verb

: to remove the ovaries and uterus of (a female animal)

Examples of spay in a Sentence

Our cat has been spayed.

Recent Examples on the Web

All dogs and cats available for adoption have been spayed or neutered, received blood work, vaccinations, deworming and flea treatments. Megan Becka,, "Summit County Animal Control to host pet adopt-a-thon July 20," 12 July 2019 She has been spayed and has had all of her shots and is deemed ready to go. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Daisy the adventurous and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 7 June 2019 More: The dogs will be up for adoption Friday after they are spayed or neutered, micro-chipped and evaluated for behavior. Andrea Perez Balderrama, Detroit Free Press, "18 Dearborn Shih Tzus need a home: How to adopt," 17 July 2019 Campers also learned, in kid-friendly terms, how cats are spayed and neutered at a mobile vet clinic, according to Hummel. Mary Grace Keller,, "Happy tails: Children learn at Carroll County Humane Society Critter Camp," 15 July 2019 The younger one was spayed and had surgery for the hernia, while the older one will undergo those procedures this week, DeFina said. Breanne Kovatch,, "Two Shih Tzu dogs rescued from woman selling them for cash at flea market in Lynn," 24 June 2019 All animals have been seen by a veterinarian, and are spayed or neutered before adoption, fully vaccinated and microchipped. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Animal adoption event heading to La Mesa," 3 June 2019 Nick Ahmed made a highlight-reel catch in the eighth inning to spay a potential Dodgers rally. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Diamondbacks bend but don't break to sting Dodgers in series opener," 25 June 2019 Both dogs were brought to the ARL and needed to undergo surgery to repair hernias, and also needed to be spayed, vaccinated, and microchipped, ARL said. Breanne Kovatch,, "Two Shih Tzu dogs rescued from woman selling them for cash at flea market in Lynn," 24 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spay.' 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 spay

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spay

Middle English, from Anglo-French espeer to pierce, castrate, from espee sword, from Latin spatha sword — more at spade

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Dictionary Entries near spay


spawning ground






Statistics for spay

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spay

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

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More Definitions for spay



English Language Learners Definition of spay

: to remove the sex organs of (a female animal) : to make (a female animal) unable to have babies


\ ˈspā How to pronounce spay (audio) \
spayed; spaying

Kids Definition of spay

: to remove the ovaries of (a female animal) a spayed cat
\ ˈspā How to pronounce spay (audio) \
spayed; spaying

Medical Definition of spay

: to remove the ovaries and uterus of (a female animal)

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More from Merriam-Webster on spay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spay

Spanish Central: Translation of spay

Nglish: Translation of spay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spay for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spay

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


a period when something is suspended

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