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

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 Available cats and dogs, some of which are spayed or neutered, are posted on the Taylor Animal Shelter Facebook group along with links to any additional that the shelter knows about each animal. Kylie Martin, Detroit Free Press, 11 June 2024 According to its website, the nonprofit has raised more than $9 million since inception and aims to promote shelter pet adoption and spaying and neutering pets. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 12 June 2024 The county contracts with an in-house vet that spays and neuters cats because the animal shelter doesn't have enough resources to provide surgeries themselves. Jolene Almendarez, The Courier-Journal, 12 June 2024 All dogs are spayed and neutered, microchipped, and fully vaccinated. Jenna Prestininzi, Detroit Free Press, 29 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for spay 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spay.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near spay

Cite this Entry

“Spay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

Medical Definition


transitive verb
spayed; spaying
: to remove the ovaries and uterus of (a female animal)

More from Merriam-Webster on spay

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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