\ˈspät \

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

8 : spotlight

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 \ adjective

Examples of spot in a Sentence


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.


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.


the difference between futures and spot commodities the spot price of wheat
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These engines maneuver the lander to a safe spot and lower the spacecraft gently down to the ground. Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA’s InSight lander has just six and a half minutes to land on Mars in one piece," 21 Nov. 2018 In others, the only way to hold a spot is to physically stay on the bridge to the port day and night. Dara Lind, Vox, "Mexico won’t let kids go to a US port. Trump doesn’t want to give them other options.," 21 Nov. 2018 Currently, that means Kosovo is guaranteed a playoff spot but World Cup champion France isn’t — although the French are almost certain to qualify for 2020 the usual way. James Ellingworth, The Seattle Times, "UEFA Nations League a hit as positivity replaces skepticism," 21 Nov. 2018 According to CityLab, their new homes a spot next to the Statue of Liberty in New York, Musée D’Orsay in Paris, and various private gardens and homes. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Want a piece of the Eiffel Tower? That’ll cost you $45K," 14 Nov. 2018 Hit Chinatown next and pop into the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum , a beautiful little spot with a rooftop pagoda for a moment of Zen. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Singapore: The (Mini) Black Book," 14 Nov. 2018 The 21-year-old singer pulls up to a tiny Mexican spot in Ridgewood, Queens—the kind with plastic flowers on the tables and Spanish soap operas chattering on the TV—in a bombshell look. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Get to Know Dounia Tazi, a Fashion Nova–Loving Modern Day Bombshell," 12 Nov. 2018 After invading the Internet with cryptic anticipation, confusing fans over misheard lyrics, and reaching Spotify’s number one spot in only three days, the song is now officially a full-fledged meme. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" Is Now a Hilarious Meme," 6 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, people are dying to get into Disney World — the theme park has become a favorite spot to scatter family ashes. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Twitter earnings, Why the stock market is falling," 25 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Kylie Cosmetics mogul debuted an icy new look on Tuesday, when she was spotted with silver hair and a white manicure. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Showed Off Silver Hair and a White Manicure," 28 Nov. 2018 They were spotted at Malibu's celeb hot spot Nobu and then on a much more low-key outing at a Jack in the Box drive-thru, grabbing hamburgers and fries in Affleck's Range Rover. Fox News, "Ben Affleck's rumored gal pal Shauna Sexton reportedly visits star upon his return to rehab," 2 Oct. 2018 Today, although Her Majesty is often seen in her signature white gloves, she has been spotted wearing the gem from time to time. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Prince Philip's Family Made a Huge Sacrifice for Queen Elizabeth's Engagement Ring," 25 Aug. 2018 It has also been spotted in the vaginal fluids and breast milk of asymptomatic women. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Ebola mysteriously hid in a woman for more than a year before spreading," 27 July 2018 He’s been spotted in logo hoodies from Balenciaga, Supreme, and Gucci and has worn not one, but two, shorts suits in eye-popping patterns. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Odell Beckham Jr. Is Winning at Life in This Buttery Calvin Klein Suit," 13 Nov. 2018 The news comes just a few weeks after media outlets reported that Tatum was seeing British singer Jessie J, after they had been spotted out and about together in Seattle and Salt Lake City. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Jenna Dewan Has Officially Filed for Divorce From Channing Tatum," 27 Oct. 2018 See, they’ve been spotted galavanting around town, smooching all over the place—as is their RIGHT as ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, October 26 Edition," 26 Oct. 2018 In this instance, however, it was spotted by a team of researchers from the Australian Antarctic Division. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Mysterious 'Headless Chicken Monster' Spotted in Ocean Near Antarctica," 22 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The necklace or bracelet that looks spot-on with jeans and a t-shirt can also be layered to ratchet up the fashion feeling for a more formal occasion. Leah Melby Clinton, Marie Claire, "How to Make Your Boring LBD Feel New Again," 16 Nov. 2018 Wright could still receive a spot start opportunity in Monday’s home doubleheader against the Yankees. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Early Orioles notes: Mike Wright on the right path as reliever; Mancini gets day off," 7 July 2018 Gray whales make their appearance closest to shore from March through June, and pass again in October and November—during these periods, volunteers along the trail help visitors spot whales, and answer questions. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Days On California's Russian River and Sonoma Coast," 16 Apr. 2018 Americans are required to keep detailed records of their Cuba travels, including receipts for five years, and the administration has suggested there could be spot checks for compliance when Americans arrive back home. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "American visitors aren’t flying in droves to Cuba now. Tour operators: Please come back," 30 Jan. 2018 The futures slid even as spot gas for next-day delivery surged to 60 times the going rate, underscoring how rallies during the peak heating-demand season have been cut short by flip-flopping weather outlooks and record production. Naureen S. Malik, Houston Chronicle, "Will expected drop in inventories support gas prices?," 5 Jan. 2018 No wonder David's impression of the Vermont senator and presidential candidate on NBC's Saturday Night Live during the 2016 election campaign was so spot-on. Gary Levin, USA TODAY, "Larry David and Bernie Sanders: More than an impression; they're relatives!," 4 Oct. 2017 Usher was JPMorgan’s chief currency dealer in London; Ramchandani was Citigroup Inc.’s former head of G-10 spot currency trading and Ashton was the head of global voice spot trading at Barclays. Suzi Ring,, "British Currency Traders Fly to New York to Face Rigging Trial," 17 July 2017 The banner offensive showing made things easier on spot starter Brent Suter, who held the Orioles at bay with his best outing in the majors. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 8, Orioles 1: Early offensive barrage backs strong spot start by Brent Suter," 3 July 2017

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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Statistics for spot

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spot

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

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More Definitions for spot



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

: 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 \

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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on spot

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


living or existing for a long time

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