Definition of spate in English:



  • 1[usually in singular] A large number of similar things or events appearing or occurring in quick succession.

    ‘a spate of attacks on travelers’
    • ‘As you all know, Mason Enterprises has been going through a spate of rough times as of late.’
    • ‘Of the sudden spate of mother-daughter movies only one contains any real surprises’
    • ‘With greed left to take its course, a spate of scandals has erupted among foundations and charities.’
    • ‘This autumn has seen a spate of high-profile full stops, marked by greatest-hits collections and line-up changes.’
    • ‘Technology stocks took a fresh battering after a spate of US profit warnings spread gloom across world financial markets.’
    • ‘The proposal follows a spate of food thefts from fridges around the College.’
    • ‘A spate of related movements tried to emulate his success.’
    • ‘It sparked a spate of letters - so many that we've started a discussion group’
    • ‘Emily the Labrador disappeared in London just hours after Britain learned of a spate of dog thefts up and down the country.’
    • ‘The early twentieth century witnessed a spate of father-to-father advice books and a growing body of essays and articles written by and for fathers in popular magazines.’
    • ‘A spate of viruses could force carriers to beef up their customer support staffs, which would drive up prices for all users.’
    • ‘That night saw one of the most ferocious spates of rioting in living memory.’
    • ‘After a spate of attacks in March and April this year, bookmakers have become increasingly successful in fending off attacks.’
    • ‘There's been a recent spate of intimidating text message cases brought up in court.’
    series, succession, run, cluster, string, outbreak, rash, epidemic, explosion, plague, wave, flurry, rush, flood, deluge, torrent, outpouring
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  • 2British A sudden flood in a river, especially one caused by heavy rains or melting snow.

    • ‘As the river rapidly went into full spate, the ice blue turned chocolate brown and became unfishable.’


Late Middle English (originally Scots and northern English in the sense flood, inundation): of unknown origin.