\ 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
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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One bright spot in earnings was operating cash flow, which rose 8% in 2019 from a year earlier as Repsol increased efficiencies in its downstream business, particularly through digitalization. Rodrigo Orihuela,, "Repsol Profit Misses on Weaker Chemicals, Crude," 10 May 2020 One bright spot was Disney+, the company's new streaming service, which has signed up more than 54 million subscribers since its launch in December. NBC News, "Pennsylvania hospital celebrates release of one of first COVID-19 patients," 7 May 2020 Now, the traditional-style spot is aiming for a much bigger sum: $6.795 million. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Ed McMahon’s former Beverly Hills haunt aims for $6.795 million," 5 May 2020 The bright spot is that prices could be lower in supermarkets. Anna Bauman,, "Coronavirus live updates: Protests set for May Day," 1 May 2020 Perhaps the only bright spot was the bank's record trading division revenue, up 32% to $7.2 billion. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "Here’s who is winning (and losing) during Q1 earnings seasons so far," 30 Apr. 2020 Having already earned a $1 million roster bonus in February, the longtime starter's spot shouldn't be in jeopardy in 2020. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "NFL veterans on notice after draft: What's next for Aaron Rodgers, Packers?," 29 Apr. 2020 The bright spots might be the newest crop of electric vehicles like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.3 and several other upcoming models. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Electric-Vehicle Adoption Likely to Slow amid Pandemic, Recession," 27 Apr. 2020 The agency has been devastated by the decline in first-class mail over recent decades, but one bright spot has been package delivery. Jacob Bogage,, "Administration considers leveraging emergency coronavirus loan to force Postal Service changes," 23 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb First, they were spotted hand-delivering meals to those in need around Los Angeles with the charity Project Angel Food. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "These Are the Adorable Gifts Meghan and Harry Exchanged for Their Second Wedding Anniversary," 21 May 2020 On the day of the shooting, he was spotted wearing black pants with a white stripe, a white t-shirt and a gray hat. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Cameras capture gunman who shot man in the head, Houston police say," 18 May 2020 She was spotted again in the city on Thursday, wearing a brown trench coat, black maxi skirt, black sandals, face mask and gloves, in SoHo. Colleen Kratofil,, "Ashley Olsen Runs Fashion Empire in NYC as Mary-Kate's Bid for Emergency Divorce Is Denied," 15 May 2020 The model and Pretty Little Liars star sparked dating rumors around May 2018 after they were spotted holding hands while out at an bowling alley in NYC. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson Have Reportedly Broken Up," 6 May 2020 At age 4, she was spotted on the streets of her Northern California hometown and plucked from obscurity for an ice cream commercial. Valentina Valentini, Marie Claire, "Natalie Wood Deserves More Than the Legacy We Gave Her," 5 May 2020 They’re being spotted from the air, and then trucks are sent in to take them out wherever roads are passable, the Jouberts say. Dina Fine Maron, National Geographic, "Botswana is evacuating black rhinos amid poaching threat," 1 May 2020 Just hours earlier, Pence, who leads the White House's coronavirus task force, prompted collective outcry when he was spotted speaking to staff and patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, without a face mask. Allyson Chiu, Anchorage Daily News, "Vice President Pence criticized for going barefaced during visit to Mayo Clinic," 29 Apr. 2020 Just hours earlier, Pence, who leads the White House’s coronavirus task force, prompted collective outcry when he was spotted in Rochester, Minn., without a face mask. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, "‘Dude, what are you doing? Wear a mask’: Pence ripped for going barefaced at Mayo Clinic," 29 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The unit body is steel and features continuous welds, not spot welds. Michael Jordan, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1982 Maserati Quattroporte," 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, "WATCH: Protesters turn their backs on Bloomberg during 'Bloody Sunday' anniversary church service," 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., "How should Chaim Bloom approach changing the Red Sox bullpen? - The Boston Globe," 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, "NFL free agency 2020: Linebackers to watch for the Browns," 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, "Extremists' views reach youths," 24 Nov. 2019 First timeout: Lost after challenging a fourth-down spot This one is an understandable use of a challenge, even though spot challenges are hard to overturn. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "The Cleveland Browns are wasting timeouts and it’s killing them: What we learned against Denver," 6 Nov. 2019 For Halloween this year, seven-year-old Logan Cain dressed up as the country music legend—and his impression was so spot-on that even Brooks himself took notice. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Garth Brooks Invites Youngster to His Knoxville Concert After Seeing His Amazing Halloween Costume," 1 Nov. 2019 Methodology Historical presidential results come from the MIT Election Data + Science Lab and were carefully spot-checked against other sources. Time, "The High-Risk Strategy That Could Hand Democrats the White House," 17 Sep. 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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Statistics for spot

Last Updated

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for spot


How to pronounce spot (audio)

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
informal : 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 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


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
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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