spot

noun
\ 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

spot

verb
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

spot

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spot

Verb

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On Wednesday night, the health care system welcomed 47 medical school graduates as residents from more than 5,000 who applied for spots. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward gets new doctors-in-training," 20 June 2019 Unlike many fire departments around the country, the FDNY doesn’t have a recruitment problem and gets hundreds of people applying for every open spot, Mr. Borelli said. Acacia Coronado, WSJ, "New York Lawmakers Give Veterans More Leeway to Qualify for FDNY," 20 June 2019 Baez, who started for the N.L. at second base in last year’s midsummer classic, is the only player who should even challenge Story for the starting spot. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Rockies Insider: Trevor Story’s all-star polling reeks of disrespect and blatant ignorance," 20 June 2019 Hamlin says game publishers, aware of GameStop’s future plans, are supporting the company, recognizing the need for a gathering spot where players can discover new games and enjoy the real-world company of other enthusiasts. Chris Morris, Fortune, "GameStop Wants to Be the 'Local Church' of Gaming," 19 June 2019 With Johnson all but guaranteed to be one of the two finalists, Hunt, Gove and Javid are battling for the second spot in the runoff. Jill Lawless, USA TODAY, "UK Prime Minister race down to the final four, and Boris Johnson is the standout leader," 19 June 2019 Cards incoming freshman Samuell Williamson is one of the 31 athletes competing out West this week for 12 roster spots on the USA Basketball Men's U19 World Cup Team. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Morning Coffee: Louisville freshman and recruit impress at USA Basketball camp," 18 June 2019 He was expected to challenge for a starting spot at safety next season until his dismissal from the team for an unspecified team rules violation this spring. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "Safety Hasaan Hypolite to transfer from Colorado to UH," 18 June 2019 Every year, the Ravens’ offseason practices seem to produce a short list of unexpected candidates to compete for roster spots in training camp. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Five Things We Learned from the Ravens’ OTAs and minicamp," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brandon Specktor at LiveScience reports that the Scottish worm was spotted during a survey of an unexplored area of the West Shetland Shelf Marine Protected Area to the north of Scotland. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "These Two Newly Described Worms Have Really Strange, Yet Marvelous Butts," 21 June 2019 The polar bear showed up over the weekend in Norilsk, which has been called Russia’s nickel capital, and, for days, was spotted wandering throughout the city, searching for food. Washington Post, "A starving polar bear that was seen scavenging for food in a Russian industrial city has been captured," 20 June 2019 Tallahassee police and the Florida Highway Patrol had to close off the Monroe Street exit for a few hours after the gator was spotted on the highway, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Doug Phillips, sun-sentinel.com, "The trapper was skeptical. What he found was a nearly 500-pound gator on the highway.," 20 June 2019 Lopinto said the same tan SUV was spotted at that scene, and the ballistics from the New Orleans East homicide are a match to this week’s Metairie fatal shootings. Emily Lane, nola.com, "4 dead after man picked targets ‘at random,' JPSO Sheriff says," 19 June 2019 Since the beginning of June, Oregon police received regular calls about the bear, which was usually spotted near its favorite boat ramp at an Oregon park. Scottie Andrew And Brian Ries, CNN, "A friendly black bear was euthanized after becoming too familiar with people who fed it and took selfies," 18 June 2019 For a time, the celebrity couple lived across the street at 2727 Kirby, a condominium high-rise, and were often spotted walking their dogs around the neighborhood. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Kate Upton sighting, rescue pets and Astros stars raise $400K at Tootsies in River Oaks," 14 June 2019 But Walker was arrested again earlier this week after a non-drug incident and, on Thursday afternoon, the task force was alerted that Walker was spotted selling drugs again, Pace said. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Drug task force busts suspected Manchester fentanyl, crack cocaine dealer," 13 June 2019 While Kardashian isn’t named at this point in the documents, the summer of 2016 is when Thompson and Kardashian were first spotted together at a Los Angeles club and then photographed on a romantic Mexican getaway, Radar reported. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Khloe Kardashian denies she was Tristan Thompson’s mistress, but apologizes for ‘any pain’ she caused," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Jose Suarez will make another spot start Sunday in the series finale against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium. Maria Torres, latimes.com, "Jose Suarez will make another spot start for Angels against Mariners," 8 June 2019 On Wednesday, Teigen posted a hilarious shot of her eldest child recreating her famous awkward grimace from the Globes, and the impression is completely spot-on. Glamour, "Chrissy Teigen's Daughter Just Recreated One of Her Funniest Memes," 8 May 2019 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, baltimoresun.com, "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

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.

See More

First Known Use of spot

Noun

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

Verb

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

Adjective

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for spot

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spot

Statistics for spot

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spot

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spot

spot

noun

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.

spot

verb

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

spot

adjective

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

spot

noun
\ 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

spot

verb
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.

spot

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: 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).

WORD OF THE DAY

having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!