\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

Thankfully there have been some (but too few) legislative bipartisan bright-spots on issues such as workforce development (Perkins CTE) + combatting opioid addiction and human trafficking., "What Ivanka Did This Week: Pavers, Protests & Paid Family Leave," 13 July 2018 The plant can grow up to 18 feet tall, has a green stem with bristles and dark red or purple spots, and has a white flower. CBS News, "Giant hogweed sends Virginia teen to hospital, burn unit," 13 July 2018 From Oregon to Utah to New York, people are vying for spots at Bob Ross paint-alongs. Julia Lyon, Washington Post, "People are waiting in line. Is it Hamilton? No, it’s Bob Ross on YouTube.," 13 July 2018 And there are thousands of campaign spots to be aired, so these numbers will shift. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP senate primary in Wisconsin already reflects north-south divide within party," 13 July 2018 The system has determined that’s a spot that wouldn’t hold up well to perturbations. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Robots Can't Hold Stuff Very Well. But You Can Help," 13 July 2018 In their search for a safe haven, the boys were reported to have used their hands to feel the walls for an opening to take them to a higher, safer spot. Johnson Lai And Jason Corben, Fox News, "Boys meant to stay 1 hour in cave, but outside, rains began," 13 July 2018 Railway stations will need over 140,000 more spots by 2030, many underground. The Economist, "The Dutch underground bicycle-park arms race," 12 July 2018 Still, city officials hope the former church grounds will soon be home to another vibrant community gathering spot. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "From site of Prairie Village church, a 3-acre park with garden, play area will emerge," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 3:38 Police officer helps driver with tie instead of giving him a speeding ticket Advertisement Menomonie Police Officer Martin Folczyk spotted a BMW speeding and pulled over the driver. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Hate wearing a tie to work? Study shows peril of 'socially desirable strangulation'," 9 July 2018 From hay rides to a cemetery to maybe spotting the headless horseman, this is your ultimate Sleepy Hollow bucket list. 1. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "The Best Things To Do In Sleepy Hollow On Halloween," 9 July 2018 Heat waves create the perfect conditions for spotting crop marks, which form in fields that overlay ancient buildings, from the air. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Heat Wave is Revealing Centuries-Old Sites in Wales," 11 July 2018 Jan Jordan, who oversaw operations during the shooting; Andrew Medina, a school monitor who spotted the gunman walking toward the 1200 building; and Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie. Rafael Olmeda,, "Cops should have stopped Parkland shooter, students say in lawsuit," 11 July 2018 Selena and Justin recently separated after being spotted together hanging out non-stop for a couple of months between October 2017 and March 2018. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Reportedly “Doesn’t Care” At All About Justin Bieber’s Engagement to Hailey Baldwin," 10 July 2018 Weeks later, they were spotted cozying up at the Coachella music festival. Dave Quinn,, "Pete Davidson Praises Ariana Grande's Topless Photo as Her Ex Mac Miller Raps About Lost Love," 13 July 2018 Even before their engagement was announced, they were spotted smooching all over NYC, hanging out in the Hamptons, and shopping in upstate New York at a grocery store, to name a few. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Justin Bieber & Hailey Baldwin Continue To Keep Their Relationship Weirdly Public," 12 July 2018 Heather Barbera of Ventnor was taken into custody after she was spotted by New York Police Department officers Wednesday afternoon at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Tyner said. Robert Moran,, "Woman arrested in beating deaths of mother, grandmother in Ventnor," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Crow Pass racers spot bears annually, and many times racers have been halted by a bear on the trail or just off the trail. Doyle Woody, Alaska Dispatch News, "After bear-mauling tragedy, mountain race organizers focus on trail safety," 22 June 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

15 Oct 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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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).


lying above or upon

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