Definition of spam in English:


Video: a look at spam


mass noun
  • 1Irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the Internet, typically to a large number of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc.

    • ‘All anti-spam methods have the potential to occasionally flag a valid message as spam.’
    • ‘Despite miniscule response rates and the ire of email users everywhere, the number of people sending spam continues to grow.’
    • ‘His current research interests are in the areas of search engines, open source software, spam and online communities.’
    • ‘I've never sent spam, so why should my legitimate use of the Internet be curtailed?’
    • ‘What happens if they log in and find out that some spammer has sent them tons of spam including big attachment files?’
    • ‘Submitting to random search engines will usually only increase your email spam.’
    • ‘If you're a consumer and you get spam from a "legitimate" company, call them up and let them know how angry you are.’
    • ‘Webmasters regularly ignore messages they suspect to be spam.’
    • ‘Forty per cent of all e-mail sent on the internet during 2003 was spam.’
    • ‘These messages are like spam e-mail messages, but impossible to trace.’
    • ‘Hackers tried to trick users into visiting a maliciously-constructed website using a blizzard of spam emails last week.’
    • ‘Within your company, you can control spam by implementing strict internet and e-mail policies.’
    • ‘There are other irritating blights of the Internet age, like spam.’
    • ‘Around 80 per cent of all email is spam - and most of it is sent through infected home computers.’
    • ‘Other threats include viruses, spam and inappropriate e-mail.’
    • ‘It appears the issue lies with spam filtering software used by a number of internet service providers and web servers.’
    • ‘Three spammers were indicted in Pheonix last week for sending obscene spam in violation of US anti-spam regulations.’
    • ‘Some systems allow the user to train the software to recognize spam or to exempt messages from spam blocking.’
    • ‘If we pass laws making it illegal both to send spam and to hire spammers to do so on your behalf then we're part way to solving the problem.’
    • ‘E-mail and newsgroup spam are annoying, but at least they file neatly into your e-mail or newsgroup reader.’
    1. 1.1 Unwanted or intrusive advertising on the Internet.
      as modifier ‘an autogenerated spam website’
      • ‘Consumers see spam as a sign of disrespect and dishonesty.’
      • ‘An Atom feed is a "clean" information medium: not cluttered with adverts, spam and irrelevent information’
      • ‘During my time as the webmaster, I deleted quite a number of posts, such as spam ads and repeated old posts, but I have never deleted anything that was opposite to my viewpoints.’
      • ‘Spam is the commercial that pops up in your face, intruding on that private zone.’
      • ‘Lycos is offering a screensaver which, once downloaded, would launch a Distributed Denial of Service attack against spam websites.’
      • ‘Pop-up spam is ads that pop up on your screen if you're connected to the Internet regardless of whether you have your Web browser running.’
      • ‘This year, Sophos has intercepted hundreds of millions of fake pharmaceutical spam adverts and fake pharmaceutical websites, promoted by affiliate members.’
      • ‘When you click my friend's original photo of her baby on the site, you find that the spam site has disabled most of the live links to her site.’
      • ‘You'll find spam ads for illegal "Make Money Fast" pyramid schemes, quack healthcare remedies and other come-ons.’
      • ‘Most fly-by-night spam websites are registered for only a single year.’
      • ‘The thing about spam that's really surprising and makes me distraught is that previously reputable marketers (but lazy ones, apparently) are willing to risk their entire brand for a few bucks.’
      • ‘If this did not make the company rethink, it would at least give customers enough time to delete all the spam and pop-up adverts hurled at them by other online marketers.’
      • ‘I actually believe pop ups and spam are at the absolute lowest, most blatant edge of online marketing - and possibly even a smear used to mask something more subtle and sinister.’
      • ‘Online marketing isn't about banner ads and spam, it's about creating dialogue and community with an audience, and always has been.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter if you're selling diamond mines, weight loss tools, penis surgery or refrigerator dehumidifiers - spam is going to take your brand down.’
      • ‘The screensavers make constant http requests to spam websites.’
  • 2trademark A tinned meat product made mainly from ham.

    • ‘A guy in California used a wireless laptop to send thousands of spam messages.’
    • ‘Sammy Leslie and Ultan Bannon know that wine lovers want good wines first and good trimmings after, so there are no stray tins of spam here.’


[with object]
  • Send the same message indiscriminately to (a large number of Internet users).

    • ‘Experts at Sophos have warned users to be wary of unsolicited emails claiming to contain photographs, after a Trojan horse was spammed to internet users.’
    • ‘Several Register readers have now received apologies from Sainsbury's supermarket and Virgin Wines for spamming them.’
    • ‘MSN has signed up with Brightmail to stop its email users getting spammed.’
    • ‘To avoid spamming search engines, a Web page should have only one tag.’
    • ‘Normally when discussing the history of spam, we look back to a lawyer who spammed newsgroups about 10 years ago.’
    • ‘Yesterday we ran a story detailing Vodafone's attempts to shut down a mobile spamming company.’
    • ‘The attacks, in the form of ‘Trojan horse’ emails, have been spammed out to a number of email account holders randomly across the country.’
    • ‘New confirmation that the U.S. remains the world spamming leader comes from Sophos.’
    • ‘Closer investigation revealed that all of those messages were bounced spams promoting an online casino in Costa Rica.’
    • ‘Below you will find some common spamming techniques that search engines frown on.’
    • ‘Please refrain from spamming our message boards like you did the other day.’
    • ‘When ignored, he threatened to reveal how he spammed everyone to other spammers.’
    • ‘Hackers have used spamming software to distribute thousands of copies of a new Trojan.’
    • ‘If someone spams you from China, does a law in Missouri make any difference to that person?’
    • ‘Viruses might simply be spammed as email attachments - most likely from machines which were previously infected.’
    • ‘It's like millions of other spams sent out every day, clogging the Internet's arteries, sending it toward a heart attack.’
    • ‘This bulletin is being spammed via email and it tries to con users into downloading a new Microsoft security update.’
    • ‘Just a little tip for those trying to raise money - spamming people is not a way to get on their good side.’


1930s: apparently from sp(iced h)am. The Internet sense appears to derive from a sketch by the British ‘Monty Python’ comedy group, set in a cafe in which every item on the menu includes spam.