\ˈspend \
spent\ˈspent \; 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

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Other Words from spend

spendable \ˈspen-​də-​bəl \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

That means spending an average of 45 minutes four times a week at a moderate level of intensity — the equivalent of a very brisk walk. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 Shipwreck hunters spent eight days this summer unearthing and examining the remains of the ship. Fox News, "Mysterious shipwreck reveals its secrets: Wreck may be Lake Erie’s oldest," 15 Oct. 2018 Instead of spending millions on marketing campaigns to get customers in a new market to know its brand, Hay partnered with MoMA Store, one of the most respected and prolific design retailers in the world. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Is America ready for Denmark’s coolest design brand?," 1 Nov. 2018 The couple and their two kids spend their summers in Sweden, and most of their pieces come from the country, or Belgium, France, or Denmark. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Joanna Gaines Went To Round Top—And Fell In Love With This Antiques Company," 4 Oct. 2018 Billy spent the next many years wandering through the United States. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "‘Alaskan Bush People' Cast: How Well Do You Know the Brown Family?," 23 Sep. 2018 One of Judith's biggest advocates from the start was Nancy Botkin, who spent 24 years working in Texas prisons and was the warden at Hilltop for eight years before retiring in 2004. Erin Quinn-kong, Woman's Day, "This Texas Organization Uses Books to Reconnect Female Prison Inmates With Their Children," 23 Aug. 2018 According to Gardey, Morgan traveled first-class, spent tens of thousands of dollars and helped funnel $325,000 to a fake hospice, the paper reported. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Widow of union official led 'high-flying lifestyle' on cash meant to train autoworkers: prosecutor," 14 July 2018 Despite being at a barbecue surrounded by dozens of witnesses at the time of the murder, McMillian was convicted in a trial that lasted a day and a half and spent six years on death row. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Jamie Foxx in Talks to Join Michael B. Jordan in Legal Drama 'Just Mercy'," 13 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for spend

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spend

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

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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 \
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.

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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).


to make faulty or ineffective

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