\ 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

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 Cats are trapped and taken to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Meghan Dunn, CNN, "Meet Instagram's Paul the Cat Guy," 20 June 2019 All pet adoptions are spayed or neutered, given age-appropriate vaccines (including rabies and distemper/parvo/panleukopenia), heartworm or feline leukemia/FIV tested and microchipped. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "How to get your pick of the litter at the Indy Mega Adoption Event," 11 June 2019 For years, the city used volunteers like Rockwell to trap feral cats and their new kittens, kept them together in a shelter for a few weeks, and then spayed and released the mother before putting the kittens up for adoption. Heather Knight,, "When it comes to San Francisco's feral cat policy, the claws are out," 3 June 2019 The proposal details plans to spay and/or neuter current cats while prohibiting new ones, Environment Southland biosecurity operations manager Ali Meade told the Daily Times. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Domestic cats reportedly facing potential ban in New Zealand town," 30 Aug. 2018 Willey said some people are too poor to have their dogs spayed or neutered, which contributes to the problem. Michael Sangiacomo,, "Pit bulls proliferate at city shelter, but most get homes (photos)," 1 Feb. 2018 Daous often joined Tonia Dardar on night trips to catch the felines and have them spayed or neutered, Bailey said. Michelle Hunter,, "Families try to sort fact from rumor after Jefferson Parish triple homicide," 22 May 2018

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

10 Jul 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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