\ ˈspȯn How to pronounce spawn (audio) , ˈspän \
spawned; spawning; spawns

Essential Meaning of spawn

1 : to produce or lay eggs in water
2 : to cause (something) to develop or begin : to produce or create (something) The health-food craze spawned a multimillion-dollar industry. the incident that spawned a generation of student protests a TV show that spawned a host of imitations

Full Definition of spawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to deposit or fertilize spawn
2 : to produce young especially in large numbers

transitive verb

1a : to produce or deposit (eggs) used of an aquatic animal
b : to induce (fish) to spawn
c : to plant with mushroom spawn
2 : bring forth, generate the idea spawned controversy



Definition of spawn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the eggs of aquatic animals (such as fishes or oysters) that lay many small eggs
2 : product, offspring also : offspring in great numbers
3 : the seed, germ, or source of something
4 : mycelium especially prepared (as in bricks) for propagating mushrooms

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Other Words from spawn


spawner noun

Examples of spawn in a Sentence

Verb The health-food craze spawned a multimillion-dollar industry. the incident that spawned a generation of student protests a TV show that spawned a host of imitations Noun Pacific salmon return to Alaskan streams to deposit their spawn. sometimes I think those little brats are the spawn of Satan himself
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One of the maps has players spawn in the first round directly across from one another. Erik Kain, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 As farmland goes fallow, Native American tribes along the 257-mile-long river that flows from the lake to the Pacific watch helplessly as fish that are inextricable from their diet and culture die in droves or fail to spawn in shallow water. CBS News, 2 July 2021 Analysts don't predict that the collapse of Evergrande Group will spawn the devastation of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008—but the rippling effect is already well underway. Jessica Mathews, Fortune, 1 Oct. 2021 The salmon here live on a three-year cycle — from birth, through the journey to the sea, and then back again to spawn and die. Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2021 Pacific salmon, on the other hand, are essentially swimming muscles that can chase their prey for thousands of miles before fighting hundreds of miles upstream against tumbling mountain rivers to spawn and die. Dan Egan,, 2 Sep. 2021 Native trout, for example, require waters that don’t rise above the low-60s to spawn and thrive. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2021 By January, the fish generally move toward the tributary streams on Lewis Smith, or towards the dam in Martin, following their instinct to run upstream to spawn. Frank Sargeant, al, 8 Sep. 2021 The storm will also spawn tornadoes across the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas as unstable hot air meets tropical moisture and the rotation of Ida. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, 30 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Next summer, Daniel Schindler will be looking for impacts of 2019’s extreme warm temperatures as the first offspring from that generation return to spawn. Miranda Weiss, The Atlantic, 6 Oct. 2021 The game’s most notable change is the addition of the grappling hook, which can be picked up in regular spawn locations on the map. Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2021 Kill a central boss in an area (that is probably getting spawn farmed by ten other people). Paul Tassi, Forbes, 2 Oct. 2021 Moorhead area: As of late last week, water levels on the Red River were historically low, but with the spawn complete, catfish have been very active. Star Tribune, 8 July 2021 From Weiss Lake, guide Mark Collins reports water temperature in the upper 50′s and lower 60′s, ideal for kicking off the spawn both for crappies and for bass. Frank Sargeant, al, 19 Mar. 2021 The latest from spawn-of-Riverdance supergroup the High Kings is a live album with a twist., 30 Sep. 2021 The main reason: Tech companies have long believed that employees clustered together in a physical space will swap ideas and spawn innovations that probably wouldn’t have happened in isolation. Michael Liedtke And Barbara Ortutay, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Sep. 2021 Most of the Atlantic’s striped bass spawn in the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries each spring, and juveniles often stay there for years before heading into open ocean. Washington Post, 26 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spawn.' 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 spawn


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spawn


Middle English, from Anglo-French espandre to spread out, shed, scatter, spawn, from Latin expandere to expand

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Time Traveler for spawn

Time Traveler

The first known use of spawn was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spawn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for spawn


\ ˈspȯn How to pronounce spawn (audio) \
spawned; spawning

Kids Definition of spawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to produce or deposit a large number of eggs Salmon swim up rivers to spawn.



Kids Definition of spawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: the many small eggs of an animal (as a fish or frog) that are deposited in water

More from Merriam-Webster on spawn

Nglish: Translation of spawn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spawn for Arabic Speakers


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