\ ˈspät How to pronounce spot (audio) \

Essential Meaning of spot

1 : a small area of a surface that is different from other areas 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.
2 : a small amount of a substance that is on something The tablecloth had a couple of spots. There were mud spots on the back of his pants. rust spots on the metal
3 : a small mark or lump on your skin, on the surface of a plant, etc. I noticed some red spots on my arms. spots of rot on the leaf

Full 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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Portland has had opportunities to clinch a playoff spot in each of its last two games, but a pair of narrow defeats have prevented the club from doing so as of this weekend. Portland Timbers And Thorns Fc, oregonlive, 10 Oct. 2021 Ask Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, whose team was vying for a playoff spot last year and now has lost successive games to Arkansas and Mississippi State heading into Saturday night’s game with No. 1 Alabama. Mike Bianchi,, 9 Oct. 2021 Western’s win over rival Cypress Bay vaulted the Wildcats over the Lightning, but both teams are in line for a playoff spot. Adam Lichtenstein,, 7 Oct. 2021 In 1998, Baker’s Giants finished the season tied for the Wild Card Playoff spot, but the Giants lost the tiebreaker game to his future team, the Chicago Cubs. Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 The Dolphins have won two straight games to remain in contention for a Class 6A playoff spot. Ben Thomas |, al, 5 Oct. 2021 Or the player who helped his team the most by lifting them into a playoff spot? Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Oct. 2021 Brandon Lowe hit three home runs and the Tampa Bay Rays rolled to a 12-2 blowout of the Yankees on Saturday that prevented New York from clinching a playoff spot. Mike Fitzpatrick,, 3 Oct. 2021 Cincinnati is trying to become the first non-Power Five team to snag a playoff spot after beating Notre Dame on the road. Editors, USA TODAY, 3 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Its water views held picturesque outdoor weddings under white tents and twinkling lights and became a go-to spot for romantic summer getaways., 4 Oct. 2021 Her casting is spot on for a show with Black natural haircare as part of its lore. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 28 Sep. 2021 The vaunted Apple rumor mill —- an industry in itself —- was (more or less) spot on with much of what was formally announced. Mark Vena, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 Free of soy and processed vegan meats, this is my go-to spot to get wheatgrass shots, green juice, a raw vegan meal or something a little more filling. Rose Bruno Bailey, Chron, 2 Sep. 2021 The clutch pedal is on the lighter side, but the engagement is spot on. David Beard, Car and Driver, 17 Aug. 2021 Given its state-of-the-art technology and central location, the amphitheater is poised to be a go-to spot for live music, theater, poetry readings, dance and more. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Aug. 2021 This has long been the go-to spot for people living south of the 94, but with the addition of the Pier South Resort hotel and Sea180˚ Coastal Tavern, Imperial Beach now attracts visitors from all over San Diego and Baja California. San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Aug. 2021 West Glacier, Montana Plan a stay at Great Northern Resort — known for its whitewater rafting, lodging, and fly fishing — which is the go-to spot for travelers looking for a home base close to the West Glacier entrance to Glacier National Park. Giovanna Caravetta, Travel + Leisure, 30 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 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, 24 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries Near spot



spot anthracnose

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Statistics for spot

Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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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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