Definition of spawn in English:



  • 1no object (of a fish, frog, mollusc, crustacean, etc.) release or deposit eggs.

    ‘the fish spawn among fine-leaved plants’
    • ‘Goldburg says cod and other fish may spawn inside cages.’
    • ‘August is a good time to watch coral spawning.’
    • ‘Atlantic salmon spawn in October and November.’
    • ‘Males release more sperm when spawning with larger females.’
    • ‘It spawns in the Indian Ocean south of Java and then migrates around Australia's southern coast.’
    • ‘This large fish inhabits the Caspian and Black Seas, and it spawns in the rivers that constitute the drainage basins of these seas.’
    • ‘The female salmon spawns and then dies.’
    • ‘It Migrates from salt water into coastal rivers to spawn in spring.’
    • ‘In the Delaware Bay area, the crab spawning population dropped from 1.2 million in 1990 to less than 500,000 in 1996.’
    • ‘Because of the way they spawn, and because of the way they recruit back onto the reef, there's really no way of reducing the population for more than one breeding season really.’
    • ‘The males spawn with each female and exhibit no parental care - an extreme case of polygyny.’
    • ‘The fish were spawning so the rivers were well stocked.’
    • ‘This migration towards saltwater, in order to spawn, occurs in all catadromous species.’
    • ‘Large female pupfish can lay about 25 eggs per day and may spawn with different males each day.’
    • ‘They swim up river as far as 900 miles inland to spawn, then the young fish make their way back out to the open ocean where they mature.’
    • ‘Other males spawn with females in groups.’
    • ‘Once one oyster begins spawning, the others, stimulated by the hormones released, also spawn.’
    • ‘Although they are terrestrial creatures, these crabs descend to the sea to spawn, and their larvae live in salt water for a time.’
    • ‘A female may also spawn with the same male in temporally discrete bouts.’
    • ‘Though some striped bass can spawn in fresh water and make their homes in salt water, there are many ‘stripers’ which remain landlocked.’
    1. 1.1be spawned (of a fish, frog, etc.) be laid as eggs.
      ‘the fish can locate the precise stream in which they were spawned’
    2. 1.2 (of a character or object in a video game) appear at a certain point in the game.
      ‘then they enter the undead land where defenders will spawn to fight against them’
      with object ‘players can spawn a ghost ship to confuse foes’
      • ‘If you see your team is mounting a heavy assault on an enemy base, spawn as infantry and rush in.’
      • ‘He spawned clones of each party member that — if not quickly killed — would explode and deal 50,000 damage to the party.’
      • ‘Encounters are triggered by locating magic portals, which spawn monsters and an occasional treasure chest.’
      • ‘This time around you'll be fighting several variations of soldiers, including one that shoots lightning bolts all over the battlefield that somehow spawns new enemies.’
      • ‘This provides the recently spawned player with a brief respite to get orientated with his or her surroundings.’
      • ‘Some slain foes drop flags that can be adjusted to spawn warriors of their faction type at timed intervals.’
      • ‘The original game had a so-called 'co-operative' mode that was nothing more than spawning human players in one area and having them defeat wave upon wave of aliens.’
      • ‘These hard core rifts spawn waves of enemies that eventually culminate into a titanic boss, and anyone in the vicinity can jump into the fight.’
      • ‘You run through a tunnel, and come out in another, much smaller arena, with three massive tanks that spawn killer robots/aliens.’
      • ‘Just before logging out, I noticed a level 60 Mage without a guild tag pulling newly spawned dwarves from the camp.’
  • 2derogatory with object (of a person) produce (offspring)

    ‘why had she married a man who could spawn a boy like that?’
    • ‘They asked me to leave and notified the Child Welfare department that if I should ever spawn a child, it should be taken from my custody right away.’
    • ‘A human half my age has spawned ten children who all have four or more of their own.’
    1. 2.1 Produce or generate a large number of.
      ‘the decade spawned a bewildering variety of books on the forces’
      • ‘Nowlan's comic strip was widely popular, running for decades and spawning a host of imitators.’
      • ‘The show has spawned numerous regional imitators, if not an entire alternate entertainment universe.’
      • ‘MTV spawned a legion of imitators but today its biggest battle is online.’
      • ‘Photocopying led to Xerox, which spawned a whole new industry.’
      • ‘But privatization would certainly spawn side effects in finance and business circles.’
      • ‘The only negative thing I can say about this song is that it might have the unfortunate side effect of spawning a league of yelling-guy-with-drums imitators.’
      • ‘Combined, these influences appear to have spawned something that is far less original and entertaining as these artists.’
      • ‘The film was a sleeper hit and even spawned a low-budget sequel.’
      • ‘Men's blazers have taken on a life of their own and spawned a stylish breed of formal-turned-sporty jackets that go with virtually anything.’
      • ‘They spawned a different breed of entrepreneur - part bootstrap, part innovator, part deal maker.’
      • ‘His prose has spawned many imitators, but few, if any, equals.’
      • ‘Back in the '70s, The Omen was popular enough to spawn two sequels.’
      • ‘The original Popstars series spawned the band Hear'Say.’
      • ‘The book spawned a series that has brought in more than $650 million and helped establish Christian fiction as a huge market.’
      • ‘They spawned an entire generation of soccer moms cruising the American suburbs in SUVs.’
      • ‘Kitchen restorations are a boom industry, and are spawning a new breed of specialists.’
      • ‘His ideas have led to many significant publications and have spawned numerous research efforts on many new frontiers.’
      • ‘They were pivotal films of the decade, and both have spawned a thousand and one imitators in their wake.’
      • ‘The practice has even spawned a new industry: the customer relationship management space.’
      • ‘Despite this, White Teeth has already spawned its own genre.’
      give rise to, bring about, occasion, generate, engender, originate, lead to, result in, effect, induce, initiate, start, set off
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mass noun
  • 1The eggs of fish, frogs, etc.

    ‘the fish covers its spawn with gravel’
    1. 1.1 The process of producing spawn.
      ‘lax regulations, especially during the spawn, are responsible for the declining populations’
  • 2derogatory The product or offspring of a person or place.

    ‘the spawn of Satan’
    • ‘He was, without a doubt, the devil's evil spawn, sent down to earth to mess up the lives of innocent and simple girls.’
    • ‘Mom says infomercial hosts are spawn of the devil.’
    • ‘There was a flash of color in the demon spawn's cheeks.’
    • ‘She was like the wild, caffeinated, blonde spawn of Satan.’
    children, sons and daughters, progeny, family, youngsters, babies, brood
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  • 3The mycelium of a fungus, especially a cultivated mushroom.

    ‘a supplier of spawn for shiitake mushrooms’
    • ‘They also sell organically certified shiitake mushroom spawn.’


Late Middle English: shortening of Anglo-Norman French espaundre ‘to shed roe’, variant of Old French espandre ‘pour out’, from Latin expandere ‘expand’.