\ 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
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

Other Words from spot


spottable \ ˈspä-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce spot (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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ethan Womack of Hewitt-Trussville won the 2022 Decathlon title, surging from his sixth-place spot after Day 1. Reports, al, 17 May 2022 Great photos require scouting, so pick your spot, move furniture ahead of time if necessary, talk to your photographer about the lighting, and allow plenty of time ahead of the ceremony to get that shot. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, 17 May 2022 This basic, no-frills sports bra earns our top spot because it was rated the most comfortable sports bra by our testers and has medium-impact support for a wide range of workouts. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, 17 May 2022 The Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 110-96, in Game 6 on Friday to win the second-round playoff series at the Chase Center, securing their spot in the Western Conference finals. Wilson Wong, NBC News, 16 May 2022 Klika scored once and drove in a run from her leadoff spot. Matt Goul, cleveland, 16 May 2022 Barker proposed to Kardashian in Montecito, Calif., last October, in front of the their favorite spot Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel. Brittany Talarico,, 16 May 2022 Selena Gomez‘s opening monologue made headlines for its spot-on Miley Cyrus impression and sweet Barney sing-along, but the singer and actress really showed off her comedic skill in a variety of sketches Saturday night (May 14). Ashley Iasimone, Billboard, 15 May 2022 Castellanos has held onto his spot by keeping the Diamondbacks close in games. José M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 14 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The imagery provider, which is working with the Pentagon and others, was able to spot the bridge because its fleet of roughly 200 satellites scan all of Ukraine once a day, Mr. Marshall said. Robert Wall, WSJ, 1 May 2022 Having observed Harry — whose famous red hair remains the easiest way to spot him at the Invictus Games, along with the security detail that precedes his entrance — all week, the answer is yes. Michelle Tauber,, 22 Apr. 2022 Training people to recognize threats is important, but the attacks are often too hard for users to spot themselves for training to be an effective method of security. Patrick Harr, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2022 In a study of 2,409 people with and without symptoms, the FDA says the device was able to spot 91.2% of cases — and yielded false positives in only 0.7% of results. Alexander Tin, CBS News, 14 Apr. 2022 But even medical professionals are still learning how to spot it. al, 29 Sep. 2021 The keeper was spot-on with only one goal given up in the first half. Steve Gorches, Orlando Sentinel, 6 May 2022 Joey Collins is spot-on as Bob Ewell, the epitome of bigotry and abuse, and Anthony Natale signs his way through a touching depiction of Link Deas, the town’s misunderstood drunk. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 28 Apr. 2022 Obviously, her spot-on response got people talking online. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 19 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The result has been a spot shortage spiral as nurses quit to travel, creating additional need for travel nurses to fill open positions. Ryan Craig, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 It is paved and offers state-of-the-art keycode entry that allows the site to keep track of who enters and leaves and provide information to multi-spot clients looking to track one of their vehicles. Carrie Napoleon,, 28 Apr. 2021 The biggest factor in the Mavs’ multi-spot improvement: winning more games in clutch time. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, 22 Dec. 2020 As you spot squirrels in your backyard, keep track of them to earn badges. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 May 2020 The unit body is steel and features continuous welds, not spot welds. Michael Jordan, Car and Driver, 21 Apr. 2020 Images of the violence that broke out at that spot 55 years ago helped build support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 1 Mar. 2020 Lefty Brian Johnson and righties Hector Velazquez, Ryan Weber, Josh Smith all received spot start opportunities while also spending time as long men., 18 Nov. 2019 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, 8 Jan. 2020 See More

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.

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

Learn More About spot

Time Traveler for spot

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near spot



spot anthracnose

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Statistics for spot

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for spot


\ 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 Go to Birmingham—1963
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


intransitive verb
spotted; spotting

Medical Definition of spot (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on spot

Nglish: Translation of spot for Spanish Speakers

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


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