Definition of spay in English:



[with object]
  • Sterilize (a female animal) by removing the ovaries.

    ‘the animals must be spayed or neutered before they are given up for adoption’
    • ‘We have no by-laws forcing pet owners to spay or neuter their cats and dogs.’
    • ‘Nearly 71,000 cats and dogs were spayed or neutered over the four-year period.’
    • ‘She estimates that over the years she has picked up as many as 100 strays and had them spayed or neutered.’
    • ‘People abandon their pets, and these animals are not spayed or neutered.’
    • ‘At least five dogs had died at the Humane Society because of heat conditions there and negligent spaying and neutering.’
    • ‘By spaying your cat, you can prevent several unwanted behaviors.’
    • ‘Cats are astonishingly effective breeders, and spaying one female can prevent the birth of 36,000 kittens within just five years.’
    • ‘Spaying your pet before her first heat will significantly reduce her chances of developing breast cancer later in life.’
    • ‘Does the policy cover neutering or spaying costs?’
    • ‘The only answer is to have your animal spayed or neutered.’
    • ‘You might also want to kindly discuss spaying / neutering with your neighbors.’
    • ‘The emphasis on spaying females is critically important.’
    • ‘I had my house rabbit spayed a couple of weeks ago.’
    • ‘Spaying and neutering ensures that your pet cannot reproduce.’
    • ‘I think it's practical to spay and neuter deer to gradually decrease the population.’
    castrate, geld, cut, emasculate
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: shortening of Old French espeer ‘cut with a sword’, from espee ‘sword’, from Latin spatha (see spathe).