\ ˈspā , nonstandard ˈspād \
spayed\ˈspād, nonstandardˈspā-dəd \; spaying\ˈspā-iŋ, nonstandardˈspā-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

Additionally, pet owners can help prevent mammary tumors by considering spaying and neutering their dog. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "Pet Talk: Mammary tumors in dogs," 20 June 2018 One kitten had to be spayed immediately because of an infection in her uterus. Vinny Vella,, "A Bucks County couple kept 31 cats in squalor. A new state law is helping prosecute them.," 7 July 2018 We were assured she had been spayed and this was in writing as well. Cathy M. Rosenthal, San Antonio Express-News, "Can a spayed cat go into heat?," 29 June 2018 She's spayed, microchipped, current on vaccines, and negative for FIV/FeLV. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Adopt me! Meet Freya," 3 Apr. 2018 Most pets from Wisconsin Humane Societies are spayed or neutered. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Totally pawsome offer: Wisconsin Humane Societies are waiving cat adoption fees in July," 5 July 2018 In 2017, thanks to a partnership between Clean Futures Fund and SPCA International, more than 450 animals were tested for radiation exposure, received medical care, vaccinations and were spayed or neutered. Saryn Chorney,, "13 Homeless, Radiation-Safe Puppies Born in Chernobyl Rescued and Now Available for Adoption in U.S.," 30 May 2018 The programs, which started in the early 1990s, trap outdoor cats to spay or neuter them and returns them to their original location. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Too many kittens are being born in Arizona. Here's one way to help," 13 Apr. 2018 One of these cats is a female, spayed, 9 years old, and licks everything. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, "Young Reader Is Worried About Her Lethargic Dog," 6 June 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

4 Sep 2018

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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 \
spayed; spaying

Kids Definition of spay

: to remove the ovaries of (a female animal) a spayed cat

\ ˈspā \
spayed; spaying

Medical Definition of spay 

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

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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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