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.

    • ‘These messages are like spam e-mail messages, but impossible to trace.’
    • ‘His current research interests are in the areas of search engines, open source software, spam and online communities.’
    • ‘There are other irritating blights of the Internet age, like spam.’
    • ‘Hackers tried to trick users into visiting a maliciously-constructed website using a blizzard of spam emails last week.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you're a consumer and you get spam from a "legitimate" company, call them up and let them know how angry you are.’
    • ‘Other threats include viruses, spam and inappropriate e-mail.’
    • ‘Submitting to random search engines will usually only increase your email spam.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Around 80 per cent of all email is spam - and most of it is sent through infected home computers.’
    • ‘Within your company, you can control spam by implementing strict internet and e-mail policies.’
    • ‘Some systems allow the user to train the software to recognize spam or to exempt messages from spam blocking.’
    • ‘E-mail and newsgroup spam are annoying, but at least they file neatly into your e-mail or newsgroup reader.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've never sent spam, so why should my legitimate use of the Internet be curtailed?’
    • ‘Webmasters regularly ignore messages they suspect to be spam.’
    • ‘Forty per cent of all e-mail sent on the internet during 2003 was spam.’
    • ‘What happens if they log in and find out that some spammer has sent them tons of spam including big attachment files?’
    1. 1.1 Unwanted or intrusive advertising on the Internet.
      as modifier ‘an autogenerated spam website’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This year, Sophos has intercepted hundreds of millions of fake pharmaceutical spam adverts and fake pharmaceutical websites, promoted by affiliate members.’
      • ‘Most fly-by-night spam websites are registered for only a single year.’
      • ‘Lycos is offering a screensaver which, once downloaded, would launch a Distributed Denial of Service attack against spam websites.’
      • ‘You'll find spam ads for illegal "Make Money Fast" pyramid schemes, quack healthcare remedies and other come-ons.’
      • ‘An Atom feed is a "clean" information medium: not cluttered with adverts, spam and irrelevent information’
      • ‘Online marketing isn't about banner ads and spam, it's about creating dialogue and community with an audience, and always has been.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The screensavers make constant http requests to spam websites.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Consumers see spam as a sign of disrespect and dishonesty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2trademark A tinned meat product made mainly from ham.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A guy in California used a wireless laptop to send thousands of spam messages.’


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

    • ‘Hackers have used spamming software to distribute thousands of copies of a new Trojan.’
    • ‘MSN has signed up with Brightmail to stop its email users getting spammed.’
    • ‘Closer investigation revealed that all of those messages were bounced spams promoting an online casino in Costa Rica.’
    • ‘If someone spams you from China, does a law in Missouri make any difference to that person?’
    • ‘The attacks, in the form of ‘Trojan horse’ emails, have been spammed out to a number of email account holders randomly across the country.’
    • ‘Several Register readers have now received apologies from Sainsbury's supermarket and Virgin Wines for spamming them.’
    • ‘When ignored, he threatened to reveal how he spammed everyone to other spammers.’
    • ‘This bulletin is being spammed via email and it tries to con users into downloading a new Microsoft security update.’
    • ‘Please refrain from spamming our message boards like you did the other day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yesterday we ran a story detailing Vodafone's attempts to shut down a mobile spamming company.’
    • ‘To avoid spamming search engines, a Web page should have only one tag.’
    • ‘It's like millions of other spams sent out every day, clogging the Internet's arteries, sending it toward a heart attack.’
    • ‘Viruses might simply be spammed as email attachments - most likely from machines which were previously infected.’
    • ‘Below you will find some common spamming techniques that search engines frown on.’
    • ‘Normally when discussing the history of spam, we look back to a lawyer who spammed newsgroups about 10 years ago.’
    • ‘New confirmation that the U.S. remains the world spamming leader comes from Sophos.’
    • ‘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.