\ ˈspā How to pronounce spay (audio) , nonstandard ˈspād \
spayed\ ˈspād How to pronounce spay (audio) , nonstandard  ˈspā-​dəd \; spaying\ ˈspā-​iŋ How to pronounce spay (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 The majority of our costs are vet expenses to spay and neuter. John Benson, cleveland, 9 June 2021 Second, cat owners should be required to spay and neuter their cats to reduce the number of unwanted litters and the dumping of stray cats. Anthony Ham, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Mar. 2021 And not long after, the rescue partnered with LA/SPCA, PetSmart, Big Sky Ranch in Folsom and the Metairie Cat Hospital to spay and neuter stray and feral cats and work to find some of the more sociable ones new homes. Sarah Ravits,, 14 Dec. 2020 For example, to spay a seven-month-old, 25-pound dog, fees ranged from $243 to $825. Kevin Brasler, Star Tribune, 2 Oct. 2020 The legendary weatherman, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 89, spent 55 years at WJW Channel 8, letting viewers know to expect sunshine, rain or snow -- sometimes all three in one day -- and reminding them to spay or neuter their pets. cleveland, 4 Aug. 2020 His weather segments always ended with a reminder for people watching at home to spay or neuter their pets. cleveland, 4 Aug. 2020 Contracts often stipulate that the buyer must spay and neuter their cat, and that no cat will end up in a shelter. Alexandra Marvar, Star Tribune, 28 July 2020 If not, check with a local veterinarian about annual vaccines, boosters and spaying and neutering. Michele C. Hollow, New York Times, 6 May 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best vacuums for pet hair of 2021.

Learn More About spay

Time Traveler for spay

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near spay




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for spay

Last Updated

22 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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


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

Medical Definition of spay

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

More from Merriam-Webster on spay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spay

Nglish: Translation of spay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spay for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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