\ 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

Was there a lot of time spent in hair and makeup for your gunshot wound and other injuries? Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "The Bold Type actress Katie Stevens discusses her new horror movie Haunt," 13 Sep. 2019 Tough spent six years reporting his book, which mixes the stories of students who are trying to get into college and stay there, often against great odds, against the data and economics driving admissions. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "America’s top colleges are not the engines of social mobility they say they are," 13 Sep. 2019 Her talents were put to use last Tuesday when Evans-Bye spent most of the day aboard a sheriff’s boat operating a 25-pound, $100,000 VideoRay Pro 4 ROV utilized in her geographic information science and mapping classes at Clark Magnet. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "Clark Magnet teacher, sheriff’s volunteer aids in Conception tragedy recovery efforts," 13 Sep. 2019 The group planned on staying on the bridge until Friday morning, but authorities spent hours rescuing each of the 11 members who were dangling over the side of the bridge. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Greenpeace protesters who closed Houston Ship Channel face local, federal charges," 13 Sep. 2019 Of course, the reversal has met push back, as critics say that the rollback will harm the environment and also increase spending on energy. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Trump Blames Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs For His Wack Tan: 'I Always Look Orange'," 13 Sep. 2019 The government has only recorded trillion-dollar-plus deficits in one other period, during the four years 2009 through 2012 when spending went up to deal with a deep recession and the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Martin Crutsinger, The Denver Post, "US budget deficit for 11 months up $169 billion over 2018," 12 Sep. 2019 But as with traditional sports, competitions are a culmination, the reward for long hours spent training, studying tactics and tendencies on video, and, yes, maintaining healthy habits. Chris Brodeur, courant.com, "UConn Gaming Club bringing esports revolution to Storrs, the Big East and beyond," 12 Sep. 2019 Auburn fans will surely recognize this name, as Barrett spent his freshman season on the Plains back in 2016 before transferring to Copiah-Lincoln Community College and ultimately landing at Kent State. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Tiger Buzz: Auburn vs. Kent State TV info, key matchups and players to watch," 14 Sep. 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

17 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!