\ 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 Golden Globe winner, 75, sat down for an interview (and some snuggles) with a shelter cat named Patches for PETA's new campaign, urging pet owners to spay and neuter their animals. Glenn Garner,, 28 Oct. 2021 After being given anesthesia, vet technicians will neuter or spay the cat, provide a rabies vaccine and implant a microchip. Wells Dusenbury,, 8 Oct. 2021 Other shelters have had long-standing overcrowding issues because their states don’t have strong campaigns that encourage pet owners to spay and neuter their animals. Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2021 Many, if not most, dog owners in the United States never confront the question of whether to spay or neuter their pets. Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2020 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

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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Time Traveler for spay

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

1 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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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


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


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