\ ˈspät How to pronounce spot (audio) \

Definition of spot

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a taint on character or reputation : fault the only spot on the family name
2a : a small area visibly different (as in color, finish, or material) from the surrounding area
b(1) : an area marred or marked (as by dirt)
(2) : a circumscribed surface lesion of disease (such as measles) or decay spots of rot rust spots on a leaf
c : a conventionalized design used on playing cards to distinguish the suits and indicate values
3 : an object having a specified number of spots or a specified numeral on its surface
4 : a small quantity or amount : bit
5a : a particular place, area, or part
b : a small extent of space
6 plural usually spot : a small croaker (Leiostomus xanthurus) of the Atlantic coast with a black spot behind the opercula
7a : a particular position (as in an organization or a hierarchy)
b : a place or appearance on an entertainment program
9 : a position usually of difficulty or embarrassment
10 : a brief announcement or advertisement broadcast between scheduled radio or television programs
11 : a brief segment or report on a broadcast especially of news
on the spot
1 : at once : immediately
2 : at the place of action
3a : in a responsible or accountable position
b : in a difficult or trying situation


spotted; spotting

Definition of spot (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to stain the character or reputation of : disgrace
2 : to mark in or with a spot : stain The snow was spotted with blood. His pants were spotted with mud.
3 : to locate or identify by a spot
4a : to single out : identify especially : to note as a known criminal or a suspicious person
b : detect, notice spot a mistake spotted a deer in the woods
c(1) : to locate accurately spot an enemy position
(2) : to cause to strike accurately spot the battery's fire
d : to watch or assist (someone) during athletic competition or exercise (as for gymnastics or weight lifting) especially to prevent injury She's the darling of the weight room wherever she works out, spotting guys twice her size.— Rick Reilly
5a : to lie at intervals in or over : stud small boats spotting the harbor
b : to place at intervals or in a desired spot spot field telephones
c : to fix in or as if in the beam of a spotlight
d : to schedule in a particular spot or at a particular time spotted the main act at 9 p.m.
e football : to put (the football) at the appropriate place on the field in preparation for the next play The official spotted the ball at the 10-yard line.
6 : to remove a spot from
7a : to give a specified advantage to (an opponent) : to allow as a handicap (see handicap entry 1 sense 1b) She spotted me five points and still beat me easily. spot him two strokes a hole in golf
b informal : to lend (someone) a usually small amount of money Can you spot me five bucks?

intransitive verb

1 : to become stained or discolored in spots Fungus caused the leaves to spot.
2 : to cause a spot a detergent that always spots
3 : to act as a spotter especially : to locate targets
4 : to experience abnormal and sporadic bleeding in small amounts from the uterus

Definition of spot (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : being, originating, or done on the spot or in or for a particular spot spot coverage of the news
b : available for immediate delivery after sale spot commodities
c(1) : paid out upon delivery spot cash
(2) : involving immediate cash payment a spot transaction
d(1) : broadcast between scheduled programs spot announcements
(2) : originating in a local station for a national advertiser
e : performing occasionally when needed a spot starter
2 : made at random or restricted to a few places or instances a spot check also : selected at random or as a sample

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Other Words from spot


spottable \ ˈspä-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce spottable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of spot in a Sentence

Noun The wood still has some rough spots. The chair's original paint is still visible in spots. He fell through a weak spot in the ice. The tablecloth had a couple of spots. There were mud spots on the back of his pants. rust spots on the metal I noticed some red spots on my arms. spots of rot on the leaf a teenager with spots on his face This looks like a good spot for a picnic. Verb She spotted a deer in the woods. The band's lead singer was recently spotted with a well-known actress. They spotted us five points, and we still lost. I'm a little short of cash. Can you spot me five bucks? The official spotted the ball at the 10-yard line. Adjective the difference between futures and spot commodities the spot price of wheat
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, the lack of discipline for Astros players remains a sore spot for some players on other teams. Author: Dave Sheinin, Anchorage Daily News, "If MLB won’t punish Astros players, opposing pitchers ready to dole out justice on their own," 16 Feb. 2020 On that same spot, 50 years earlier, the Birmingham native made Alabama history as the first African American scholarship athlete. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Emotional Wendell Hudson watches unveiling of his retired Alabama jersey," 16 Feb. 2020 Things have fallen into place for Hernandez each of the past three years with a spot at the top of the podium. Dallas News, "Southlake Carroll girls win second straight state swimming title behind dominant performances in relays, 1-meter diving," 16 Feb. 2020 That leaves four spots available to non-charter teams. Francisco Guzman And Nadeem Muaddi, CNN, "Get up to speed for NASCAR's Daytona 500. Here's what you need to know," 16 Feb. 2020 Key suburban races Seven candidates are seeking two spots on the Oconomowoc Area School Board. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Election day: What you need to know about Tuesday's Milwaukee-area primaries," 15 Feb. 2020 In addition, the daily spot price at the Henry Hub national benchmark was $1.81/MMBtu on Monday, the lowest price in real terms since March 9, 2016. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Climate change is gaining on the economy as a top issue," 14 Feb. 2020 Never scrape, overly massage, or otherwise prod and poke at your hickey, which at the very least will just irritate the spot further and increase the hickey’s lifetime, but can also be seriously damaging, and even lead to scarring. Lily Puckett, Teen Vogue, "What is a Hickey? 7 Things to Know about Hickeys (including How to Get Rid of Them)," 14 Feb. 2020 Mark Miles expects to have 36 cars competing for the 33 spots. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "New boss Roger Penske increasing speed and purse for 2020 Indianapolis 500," 14 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Two Northern pintails were seen at Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Longmeadow and four were spotted at Hadley Cove., "Bird sightings," 16 Feb. 2020 The collection will draw on Brent's California modern style; a mood board spotted in a publicity still of the designer juxtaposes playful animal prints and textured pieces. Joseph Neese, House Beautiful, "Jeremiah Brent Announces His First Nursery Collection With Pottery Barn Kids," 14 Feb. 2020 Doff your cap: While the 2020 red carpet was exciting, all the amazing looks spotted at the after-parties were just as awe-inspiring. Kelly Terez, ABC News, "'Start Here': Sanders, Buttigieg, and the New Hampshire primary," 11 Feb. 2020 Getty Images Just weeks after finalizing their divorce, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth were spotted at the same pre-Oscars party. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Attended the Same Party Just Weeks After Finalizing Their Divorce," 9 Feb. 2020 Outside Samos City Hall, by the curving promenade spotted with gyro restaurants, cafes and tourism companies, asylum seekers walked with their children and fished in the port. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "On a Greek Island, Migrants and Locals Are Wary Neighbors," 7 Feb. 2020 The 4-year-old cat was rescued after being spotted in December 2018 on a road in Siberia suffering from extreme frostbite, according to Live Science. Fox News, "Frostbitten cat gets new lease on life thanks to titanium paws," 4 Feb. 2020 According to Page Six, the man the singer was spotted with over the holidays and ahead of her pre-Super Bowl 2020 concert Saturday is entrepreneur and investor Michael Polansky. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Looks Like Lady Gaga Has A Fancy New Boyfriend," 3 Feb. 2020 Dubbed the unicorn of the sea due to their long, spiraled tooth, narwhals are a beloved Arctic animal that, like other porpoise species, can be spotted swimming in groups of dozens or even hundreds of animals. National Geographic, "Penguins don't live at the South Pole, and more polar myths debunked," 3 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Unlike the top 50 free agents, players with high grades who were spot contributors — but played at least 100 snaps — were considered. Matt Goul, cleveland, "NFL free agency 2020: Linebackers to watch for the Browns," 8 Jan. 2020 In response, several organizations have started to try to provide some guidance, and new tools are emerging that help teachers spot signs of white nationalist ideology and at-risk students. Arkansas Online, "Extremists' views reach youths," 24 Nov. 2019 First timeout: Lost after challenging a fourth-down spot This one is an understandable use of a challenge, even though spot challenges are hard to overturn. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "The Cleveland Browns are wasting timeouts and it’s killing them: What we learned against Denver," 6 Nov. 2019 For Halloween this year, seven-year-old Logan Cain dressed up as the country music legend—and his impression was so spot-on that even Brooks himself took notice. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Garth Brooks Invites Youngster to His Knoxville Concert After Seeing His Amazing Halloween Costume," 1 Nov. 2019 Methodology Historical presidential results come from the MIT Election Data + Science Lab and were carefully spot-checked against other sources. Time, "The High-Risk Strategy That Could Hand Democrats the White House," 17 Sep. 2019 So your bean-to-liquid ratio will always be spot-on, meaning no more too-weak or too-strong pots of coffee. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "GH Tested: Mr. Coffee Easy Measure Coffee Maker," 27 Aug. 2019 Johnson and Hector Velazquez, so effective as spot starters last season, have a 6.00 ERA in 15 starts this season and averaged only two innings in those games. Peter Abraham,, "A little help, please? The Red Sox could have used some from their complementary players," 25 Aug. 2019 Deklan Wynne has been good in spurts at left back, but the team almost certainly wants Sam Vines to take over that spot long term, and a lot of teams around the globe could use a good left back. Mark Goodman, The Denver Post, "Backpass: The Rapids are going to “take the L” against LAFC," 28 June 2019

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b(2)


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for spot


Middle English; akin to Middle Dutch spotte stain, speck, Old Norse spotti small piece

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Time Traveler for spot

Time Traveler

The first known use of spot was before the 12th century

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Statistics for spot

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for spot


How to pronounce spot (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of spot

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a small area of a surface that is different from other areas
: a small amount of a substance that is on something
: a small mark or lump on your skin, on the surface of a plant, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of spot (Entry 2 of 3)

: to see or notice (someone or something that is difficult to see or find)
: to give (an opponent) a specified advantage at the beginning of a race, game, etc., in order to make a competition more even
informal : to lend (someone) a small amount of money

English Language Learners Definition of spot (Entry 3 of 3)

finance : relating to goods or shares that are paid for and delivered immediately instead of at a future time


\ ˈspät How to pronounce spot (audio) \

Kids Definition of spot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small part that is different from the main part He has a bald spot.
2 : an area soiled or marked (as by dirt)
3 : a particular place … he still remembered the spot where the poor thing was buried.— John Reynolds Gardiner, Stone Fox
4 : position entry 1 sense 3 “You go get in line and hold our spot …”— Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons
5 : fault sense 1 There's a spot on his good name.
on the spot
1 : right away She was hired on the spot.
2 : at the place of action The reporter was reporting on the spot.
3 : in difficulty or danger The question put me on the spot.

Other Words from spot

spotted \ ˈspä-​təd \ adjective


spotted; spotting

Kids Definition of spot (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to mark or be marked with spots
2 : to single out : identify I spotted him in the crowd.


\ ˈspät How to pronounce spot (audio) \

Medical Definition of spot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a circumscribed mark or area: as
a : a circumscribed surface lesion of disease (as measles)
b : a circumscribed abnormality in an organ seen by means of X-rays or an instrument X-rays revealed a spot on the lung
spotted; spotting

Medical Definition of spot (Entry 2 of 2)

: to experience abnormal and sporadic bleeding in small amounts from the uterus

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More from Merriam-Webster on spot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spot

Spanish Central: Translation of spot

Nglish: Translation of spot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spot for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about spot

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