\ 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 And new adoptions are spayed or neutered before the adoption process is completed. NBC News, "'The call has been answered': Animal shelters across the U.S. are emptying amid coronavirus pandemic," 16 Apr. 2020 The Humane Society of Greater Miami is spaying and neutering shelter animals once per week, but the clinic is closed to the general public. NBC News, "'The call has been answered': Animal shelters across the U.S. are emptying amid coronavirus pandemic," 16 Apr. 2020 This means spaying or neutering a pet is out of the question. Bisma Parvez, Detroit Free Press, "Gov. Whitmer signs order restricting non-essential vet procedures amid coronavirus crisis," 31 Mar. 2020 Donations of cat food and money to pay for spaying and neutering. Katie V. Jones,, "Share Your Blessings: How you can help those in need in Laurel," 27 Nov. 2019 There were 10 leaders on the team and 11 females, all of them spayed. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what happens when you learn you’re running the Iditarod the day the race begins," 21 Mar. 2020 The puppies are now recovering and will be put up for adoption once they are vetted, spayed and neutered. Helen Murphy,, "Utah Snowmobilers Rescue 3 Puppies Abandoned on Snowy Mountain: They Were 'Little Balls of Ice'," 3 Dec. 2019 But in the 1970s, when overflowing animal shelters were euthanizing millions of homeless dogs annually, spaying and neutering puppies - procedures that involve removing ovaries or testicles - became the dogma in the United States. Karin Brulliard,, "There’s a growing debate over spaying and neutering dogs," 30 Oct. 2019 Animal welfare organizations advocate spaying and neutering to reduce pet overpopulation. Andrea Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Saving pets: Program lends hand to low-income animal owners," 17 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for spay

Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for spay


How to pronounce spay (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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