\ ˈspend How to pronounce spend (audio) \
spent\ ˈspent How to pronounce spent (audio) \; spending

Definition of spend

transitive verb

1 : to use up or pay out : expend
2a : exhaust, wear out the hurricane gradually spent itself
b : to consume wastefully : squander the waters are not ours to spend— J. R. Ellis
3 : to cause or permit to elapse : pass spend the night

intransitive verb

1 : to expend or waste wealth or strength
2 : to become expended or consumed
3 : to have an orgasm

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spend

spendable \ ˈspen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce spendable (audio) \ adjective
spender noun

Examples of spend in a Sentence

I spent $30 on his birthday gift. They spend a lot on clothes and cars. I want to buy a new car, but I don't have much money to spend. Her willingness to spend freely made her popular among her friends. He spends lavishly on vacations. I spent my summer at the beach. She spent eight months living in New York City. Relaxing with friends is a great way to spend a weekend. Our cat spends most of his time sleeping. Too much of my time is spent arguing with customers.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

This support was critical when his son was placed on hospice care and Marroquin wanted to spend as much time as possible by his hospital bedside. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Service dog made veteran’s first pitch at Padres game possible," 7 June 2019 Bloomberg reportedly plans to spend the $500 million over the next three years. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Michael Bloomberg Pledges $500 Million to Combat Climate Change," 7 June 2019 The Marcus Theatres Kids Dream summer film series is a great way to spend a rainy summer morning, or just to break up the monotony of those long school-free days as the summer wears on. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "$3 kids' movies come back to Marcus Theatres for the summer," 7 June 2019 The discussion centered on empowering communities by encouraging people to spend their dollars at local businesses. Rebekah Tuchscherer, USA TODAY, "Jack Dorsey, Killer Mike talk entrepreneurship, supporting local businesses," 6 June 2019 Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin's first budget features all sorts of interesting ways to spend $451 million. Hailey Auglair | Hauglair@al.com, al.com, "Birmingham students matched with local companies for summer apprenticeship program," 6 June 2019 Here’s hoping the company starts putting those background statements on the record — because until YouTube starts standing behind its decisions with arguments rather than platitudes, we are doomed to spend eternity talking past each other. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Three ways YouTube could fight harassment," 6 June 2019 But Barlow would spend the next 48 years serving life without parole. Samantha Melamed, https://www.inquirer.com, "The last death-row inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary returns after 50 years in prison," 6 June 2019 To spur growth, the theory says, governments should run up deficits to give consumers and companies more to spend. Ben Dooley, New York Times, "Modern Monetary Theory’s Reluctant Poster Child: Japan," 5 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spend.' 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 spend

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for spend

Middle English, from Old English -spendan, from Medieval Latin expendere to disburse, use up, from Latin, to measure by weight, pay out — more at expend

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spend

Statistics for spend

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spend

The first known use of spend was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spend



English Language Learners Definition of spend

: to use (money) to pay for something
: to allow (time) to pass in a particular place or while doing a particular activity
: to use (energy or effort) to do something


\ ˈspend How to pronounce spend (audio) \
spent\ ˈspent \; spending

Kids Definition of spend

1 : to use (money) to pay for something
2 : to cause or allow (as time) to pass … he parked his car … and was spending considerable time walking about town.— Robert McCloskey, Homer Price
3 : to use wastefully : squander She spends a lot of energy worrying.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on spend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spend

Spanish Central: Translation of spend

Nglish: Translation of spend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spend

What made you want to look up spend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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