Definition of spot in English:



  • 1A small round or roundish mark, differing in color or texture from the surface around it.

    ‘ladybugs have black spots on their red wing covers’
    • ‘Small brown spots surrounded by a yellow halo is the characteristic symptom of the disease.’
    • ‘Though the transfer is acceptable at first glance, print damage and white spots are noticeable repeatedly throughout the film, far more than can be reasonably expected.’
    • ‘A fertile egg has a small spot with ‘spider’ veins radiating out from it.’
    • ‘The light yellow spindle shaped spots on the leaves are characteristic of this soilborne virus disease.’
    • ‘Septoria appears as small brown spots or blotches on the leaves.’
    • ‘C. camptozonale is bright white, with some spots and stripes on its wings.’
    • ‘Their fur, feathers and skins, wonderfully textured and coloured, the symmetry of the patterns they make and the exquisite arrays of stripes and spots are there to be emulated.’
    • ‘Leaf symptoms start as bright yellow, small spots which grow to necrotic areas.’
    • ‘The first symptoms of infection are yellowish-green spots or blotches near the tips of older leaves.’
    • ‘I was seeing spots, and my face was all wet and dripping.’
    • ‘The Impressionists painted things as though they saw them without understanding - only as spots of color.’
    • ‘If enough plant cells die, the sugar beet's leaves will exhibit the disease's characteristic spots, which are actually colonies of fungi feeding on degraded plant material.’
    • ‘Plants infected early in the growing season are characterized by brown spots on the margins of the cotyledons.’
    • ‘A few spots and specks pop up now and again, but this is acceptable considering the age of the film.’
    • ‘These spots have raised centers that may develop on either surface of the leaf but are more common on the lower surface.’
    • ‘Affected stems often have reddish-brown spots or streaks.’
    mark, patch, pop, dot, speck, speckle, fleck, smudge, smear, stain, blotch, blot, splash, daub
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    1. 1.1A small mark or stain.
      ‘a spot of mildew on the wall’
      • ‘An infestation can sometimes be recognized by blood stains and dark spots of excreta.’
      • ‘In his nervousness, he cut himself, standing back and watching the blood trickle down his cheek; a small spot settling on the collar of his shirt.’
      • ‘Here ink spots clearly are ink spots, and Kalina employs them in a carefree punctuation that sets up a joyful rhythm across the sheet.’
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    2. 1.2British A pimple.
      pimple, pustule, blemish, blackhead, boil, swelling, eruption, wen, sty
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    3. 1.3archaic A moral blemish or stain.
    4. 1.4North American A pip on a domino, playing card, or die.
    5. 1.5North American informal [in combination]A banknote of a specified value.
      ‘a ten-spot’
  • 2A particular place or point.

    ‘a nice secluded spot’
    ‘an ideal picnic spot’
    • ‘Walk toward this spot while watching this square-foot area and count the number of grasshoppers that you see in or jumping out of this area.’
    • ‘I like to walk around and hear the mix in different spots.’
    • ‘Another drainage problem under study is water that ponds in low spots and drains by surface pipe inlets.’
    • ‘One day before Paul D showed up at 124, Denver was playing in her emerald closet, her special spot enclosed by boxwood trees where she went to be alone.’
    • ‘You'll find this column in its usual spot, the last editorial page in the magazine.’
    • ‘They come near a town that seems to be a good spot to land, and they ashore.’
    • ‘A plaque marks the spot where the wager was made.’
    • ‘He crawled, looking for a secluded spot like the Tall Soldier had.’
    • ‘The individuals, well known in their various disciplines, hail from spots all over the globe.’
    • ‘The Museum of New York is one of the most elegant spots in the city, and has everything you ever wanted to know about New York City.’
    • ‘The action is comprised entirely of characters walking from one spot to another to finish their speeches.’
    • ‘The laity frequently had to compete for this space with bishops and abbots, who surprisingly often requested burial in the same spot instead of within the choir.’
    • ‘Weapons or ammunition were found later at all three spots.’
    • ‘They arrive at the spot where the hole is and the seminarist steps out of the Range Rover and has a look at it (the viewer still only sees, in a long shot, the side of the cliff).’
    • ‘Garbled details would be passed on by word of mouth and soon convoys of hatchbacks would head out for sunrise sessions in motorway service stations and picnic spots.’
    • ‘Only a vase of red flowers on a slanting side table and the back of a yellow chair create the sense of what makes the dog think this spot is special.’
    • ‘When he started losing calves, he switched to a different spot.’
    • ‘Located in the center of Brooklyn, next to the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is considered one of the most beautiful spots in the city.’
    • ‘The gentle slope of the mound also provides informal spots for people to picnic and watch the races.’
    • ‘It's a wonder how all of this art, architecture and creativity ended up in such a secluded spot.’
    place, location, site, position, point, situation, scene, setting, locale, locality, area, neighbourhood, region
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    1. 2.1[with adjective]A small feature or part of something with a particular quality.
      ‘his bald spot’
      ‘there was one bright spot in a night of dismal failure’
      • ‘About the only bright spot is the colorful feature starring Lewis Van Dercar.’
      • ‘Finally, the one bright spot amongst the added features is a five-minute excerpt from the boys' appearance at the 1997 Cable Ace Awards.’
      • ‘The only true bright spot comes in the form of Morgan Freeman as a local bar owner.’
      • ‘The Panhandle has been the one bright spot during this ongoing drought.’
      • ‘The bright spot in Bob's life is the fact that he has many friends.’
      • ‘The only bright spot in his existence is his son Derek.’
      • ‘The production has some bright spots, but ultimately breaks no new ground.’
      • ‘The only real bright spot of the evening was Navarro, who despite his band mates, still managed to wow many in attendance with his awesome guitar abilities.’
      • ‘Even had she been the sole bright spot in this film, it would be worth watching.’
      • ‘Swinton's acting is the one bright spot in the whole movie, except for two scenes that almost sink her entire performance.’
      • ‘Although Chick won an Emmy, he's not the only bright spot in this cast.’
      • ‘One bright spot is simply that hard-core rap has knocked out such unmusical predecessors as heavy metal and punk.’
      • ‘At any rate, she's The Sweetest Thing's lone bright spot.’
      • ‘The acting from the leads is another bright spot.’
      • ‘The only bright spot is provided by Cedric the Entertainer, as a crooked preacher.’
      • ‘The third act does have one bright spot, though - it's hilarious.’
      • ‘He's on the cusp of middle age - bald spot, cardigan, tummy - and is most precise in the way he speaks.’
      • ‘We spend time before any paint is applied sanding rough spots, scraping off dust particles and wiping the walls down with rags.’
      • ‘Fortunately, there were bright spots along the way.’
      • ‘The biggest surprise is that there is, in fact, a bright spot in the film.’
    2. 2.2A position within a listing; a ranking.
      ‘the runner-up spot’
      • ‘But what I really find interesting is that Gosford Park took Black Hawk Down's spot.’
      • ‘A few of their top picks (which I will not reveal, out of deference to the work they put into the analysis) went within two or three spots of the predicted order.’
      • ‘A labor-union pioneer deserves a spot in baseball's Hall of Fame.’
    3. 2.3(in sports) an advantage allowed to a player as a handicap.
    4. 2.4A place for an individual item within a show.
      ‘she couldn't do her usual singing spot in the club’
      • ‘Rounding the extras are two TV spots and a handful of trailers for other recent MGM films.’
      • ‘Thorough cast and crew information, production notes, the theatrical trailer, and two TV spots round out the package.’
      • ‘Two 30-second radio spots shed some more light on how this film was marketed.’
      • ‘Include the standard selection of trailers and TV spots, and you've just barely scratched the surface of what this disc has to offer.’
      • ‘Finally, there are two radio spots and a TV spot.’
      • ‘On the other side are the easily deluded, the ones who believe that a hit single or a television spot circumvents money to actually purchase happiness.’
      • ‘When promo spots for this film started to surface, the cast line-up made this seem like it was THE action-comedy film to see.’
      • ‘There were also no television spots, elaborate promotional campaign, or music soundtrack to bring awareness to the film.’
      • ‘It's interesting to see the different spins the TV spots give the movie, but they basically retread the same footage.’
      • ‘The audio archives section contains radio spots and full songs related to the film.’
      • ‘In promotional spots for the show, the contestants' initial undertaking involved designing a billboard on Times Square in New York.’
      • ‘Some radio spots and a TV spot are also included.’
      • ‘A theatrical trailer, a TV spot and numerous radio spots round out the listed content.’
      • ‘Print ads began running this past spring, followed by television and radio spots in key markets.’
      • ‘Several trailers, TV spots and radio spots round out the basics of the extras, but the crowning achievement in this area is clearly the commentary track.’
      • ‘A still gallery with 34 production photos, the film's theatrical trailer, and a TV spot round out the extras.’
      • ‘The theatrical trailer and two TV spots round out the official supplements.’
      • ‘Aardman has subsequently worked on a number of advertisements, the most distinctive of which are probably the Lurpak spots featuring a character made of butter named Douglas.’
      • ‘The song's already made its way into promo spots for teen-TV dramas, so it's hitting on a cultural moment.’
      • ‘A selection of promo spots rounds out the supplemental material.’
      position, place, niche, slot, space
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  • 3British informal A small amount of something.

    ‘a spot of rain’
    • ‘All looks up for Fitz until he and Nellie - doing a spot of unofficial undertaking - find a gold nugget in the dead hand of one of their clients.’
    • ‘In an inspired, hilarious nod to the past, though, she does get to do a nice spot of funky dancing when her date takes her to the icon of '70s hipness, Soul Train.’
    • ‘With hardly a chance to take a spot of sea air, the season sails off again with a series of September art and antiques fairs.’
    • ‘To add to the fun, he chucks in tapes sourced from recordings of street fairs, demonstrations, his own kids singing and even a spot of bagpipes.’
    • ‘She is making her weekly trip into Wellington for a spot of shopping.’
    • ‘Treating me to a spot of food and a fresh coffee in the garden, he started to explain why you should choose to use your art to make political statements.’
    • ‘Time for a spot of wig flipping while getting down and very dirty.’
    • ‘I think this may require a spot of further thought.’
    • ‘A couple of teenagers leave a beach party for a spot of skinnydipping.’
    • ‘What this trio from Cardiff does, however, is add a spot of piano, organ and a variety of other influences to the pot.’
    • ‘Pit stops on the road are not so much for going to the bathroom as it is to covertly scarf down another spot of drink.’
    • ‘She has hired Robert, the hit man, to do a spot of work.’
    • ‘His neurosis isn't helped when she notices a spot of discoloration on his lip, leading him to believe he'll soon be dead of cancer.’
    • ‘Five college friends head for the woods for a spot of rest and relaxation.’
    • ‘Davis brings a beautifully written character to life without a spot of bother, and she makes a wonderful addition to the Spaced cast.’
    • ‘To make matters worse, his casino in Manchester runs into a spot of trouble with a high-roller and a corrupt croupier.’
    • ‘He tells Harding that the session reminded him of a pecking party, where a group of hens, seeing a spot of blood on one of their number, will peck that hen to death.’
    • ‘It is not simply schoolchildren who benefit from a spot of Mozart.’
    • ‘So, the increasingly relaxed attitude of the police has meant that more musicians are now able to do a spot of casual busking in order to make some quick cash.’
    • ‘Taking a break from the Scorpio case, Callahan tries to eat a spot of lunch only to be rudely interrupted by a bank robbery down the street.’
    bit, little, some, small amount, morsel, modicum, bite
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  • 4[as modifier] Denoting a system of trading in which commodities or currencies are delivered and paid for immediately after a sale.

    ‘trading in the spot markets’
    ‘the current spot price’
    • ‘The risk premium equals the difference between the current futures price and the expected future spot price.’
    • ‘This fact of the trading institution alters the equilibrium outcome relative to both the certain case and the case of supply and demand risk in spot markets.’
    • ‘The Detroit ethanol spot price data were obtained from Kapell.’
    • ‘When that happened, Bass said, he told buyers to lower spot market bids.’
    • ‘There is also a spot market, but no real-time pricing exists.’
  • 5

    short for spotlight


  • 1[with object] See, notice, or recognize (someone or something) that is difficult to detect or that one is searching for.

    ‘Andrew spotted the ad in the paper’
    ‘the men were spotted by police’
    • ‘Rory's brother spotted the familiar face and sent the candidate over.’
    • ‘It was then that I spotted Mark, a friend from my preppy high school, who has spent the last three years at university reinventing himself as the anti-prep.’
    • ‘But it had no discernible effect on his career, which is still sustained, say his peers, by an extraordinary ability to spot hits.’
    • ‘The only true imperfections I spotted were a few nicks and scratches in the print.’
    • ‘We didn't even have to explain to him what happened, as he had already spotted our parked car and spoken to our friends.’
    • ‘How else does he spot the killer before he has any evidence?’
    • ‘Sometimes, in the darkness, I'd spot the shining eyes of the stranger, so I'd try to cool things down.’
    • ‘But when I finished reading the paper, I spotted a housefly on my refrigerator, so I rolled up the paper and tried to whack it.’
    • ‘At Rochester they spotted an ambassador and his escort, and fled over the fields to Canterbury.’
    • ‘The clipping was spotted by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, who treated it with more amusement than concern.’
    • ‘From the helicopter they attempted to spot Doug's body.’
    • ‘All was going well until we spotted a dinghy rowing towards us on the open waves.’
    • ‘Mitch spots Blanche at that game and they spark a romance.’
    • ‘But you can spot the artwork instantly, and you know whether you like the artwork, whether it grabs you or not.’
    • ‘Later a little girl spotted one of our balloons, which were marked ‘Labour’, and demanded one from her mother.’
    • ‘Rosamund screams when she spots a large rat swimming toward her.’
    • ‘Late that day one of the search crews spotted Doug's body in such rugged terrain they were unable to get to it before dark.’
    • ‘I also spotted a fair amount of grain in the transfer.’
    • ‘I like spotting the eel, who is very shy and hides under rocks.’
    • ‘The extreme cases are easy to spot but others require more time.’
    notice, see, observe, discern, detect, perceive, make out, pick out, distinguish, recognize, identify, locate
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    1. 1.1Recognize that (someone) has a particular talent, especially for sports or show business.
      ‘we were spotted by a talent scout’
      • ‘It also gives the audience the godlike power of spotting future theatre talent, of which there seems to be a lot about.’
      • ‘They were spotted by none other than pop magnate Pete Waterman.’
      • ‘She was born in l909, and spotted in the late l930s by Talich when he was director of the National Theatre.’
      • ‘English Touring Theatre and its director Stephen Unwin have a real knack of spotting talent on the way up.’
      • ‘First held in 1932, the Whitechapel show has a reputation for spotting young talent early, including many of the UK's most important artists.’
      • ‘Dumby's spectacular football prowess has been spotted by a city talent scout, which sets up the need for him to win Best Player in the final against a much stronger team.’
      • ‘Forget giving concerts and recitals: if you want a career in classical music then start busking, as it increasingly seems that the place to get spotted is out on the streets.’
      • ‘That is until a former talent scout for Newcastle United spots him while on holiday and insists he make the trip to trial for the Toon Army.’
      • ‘A record label sinks or swims on its A & R department's ability to spot hot new talent, and Grainge considers Cowell one of the best.’
      • ‘Besides spotting great raw artistic talent, Phillips hired and trained a handful of engineers who would go on to great success, as well.’
      • ‘Subjecting his customers to his own original compositions via the on-hold music, he hopes to get spotted and become a star.’
    2. 1.2Military [no object]Locate an enemy's position, typically from the air.
      ‘they were spotting for enemy aircraft’
  • 2[with object] Mark with spots.

    [with object] ‘the velvet was spotted with stains’
    stain, mark, fleck, speckle, blotch, mottle, smudge, streak, splash, spatter, bespatter
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    1. 2.1[no object]Become marked with spots.
      ‘a damp atmosphere causes the flowers to spot’
    2. 2.2Cover (a surface or area) thinly.
      ‘thorn trees spotted the land’
    3. 2.3archaic Stain or sully the moral character or qualities of.
      sully, stain, tarnish, blacken, taint, blemish
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  • 3[with object] Place (a billiard ball or football) on its designated starting point.

  • 4North American informal [with two objects] Give or lend (money) to (someone)

    ‘I'll spot you $300’
    1. 4.1Allow (an advantage) to (someone) in a game or sport.
      ‘the higher-rated team spots the lower-rated team the difference in their handicaps’
  • 5[with object] Observe or assist (a gymnast) during a performance in order to minimize the chance of injury to the gymnast.


  • hit the spot

    • Be exactly what is required.

      ‘the cup of coffee hit the spot’
      • ‘When it's good, it hits the spot in perfect fashion.’
      • ‘It certainly hit the spot with that target market, with a redemption rate of 33 per cent.’
      • ‘It's the pride and sense of achievement in that last line that hits the spot.’
      • ‘If you gradually cut back on added sugar you may even find that a peach or an apple hits the spot.’
      • ‘The rest is all pretty much in the same vein and hits the spot almost every time.’
      • ‘One of the conclusions hits the spot, but the others, while funny, are sitcom laughs.’
      • ‘This hit the spot for me and the mild cheese and spinach acted as a good foil to the punchy pesto and distinctive asparagus.’
      • ‘It hits the spot when I'm in the mood for a creamy, fruity, snack.’
      • ‘The occasional dish hit the spot, but for the most part the food was tired.’
      • ‘It was a little over-chilled, but hit the spot nonetheless.’
  • in a spot

    • informal In a difficult situation.

      • ‘So if you start maxing out your loan now, you might find yourself in a spot three years on, if if reverses the policy and you're left with a gigantic, interest-accruing loan.’
      difficult situation, awkward situation, tricky situation, predicament, mess, difficulty, trouble, plight, corner, quandary, dilemma
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  • on the spot

    • 1Without any delay; immediately.

      ‘he offered me the job on the spot’
      • ‘Julie cans her on the spot, not caring that the delay wasn't her fault.’
      • ‘His real teeth got knocked out in a fight, but they were so integral to his ‘look’ that a frantic Spanish ad agency had a replica pair made on the spot.’
      • ‘When he displays his handiness with a temperamental car, he is offered a job on the spot.’
      • ‘They were offered jobs with his company on the spot.’
      • ‘One of them shockingly and immediately blows his own brains out on the spot, rather than be driven by his commander to go back on the line.’
      • ‘At a time when the camera was little used in newspaper work, the job of making rapid sketches on the spot for subsequent publication demanded a quick eye and and a rapid hand, and encouraged an interest in scenes of everyday life.’
      • ‘If they have the right look, sign them on the spot.’
      • ‘George is immediately smitten and asks her to marry him on the spot.’
      • ‘Lean liked what he was hearing and on the spot decided that Jarre should do the whole job, giving him a mere six weeks to record everything.’
      • ‘Rider Strong nailed the audition with no direction whatsoever, and won the job on the spot.’
      immediately, there and then, then and there, straight away, right away, forthwith, instantly, summarily, without delay, without hesitation, at once, that instant, directly
      in short order
      straight, straightway, instanter, forthright
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    • 2At the scene of an action or event.

      ‘journalists on the spot reported no progress’
      • ‘The camera provides a sharp, close-up view for the remote physician that is actually superior to what the doctor on the spot can get using his own unaided vision.’
      • ‘However, you get to meet luminaries of the opera world, work with fine, like-minded colleagues and are on the spot when opportunities arise.’
      • ‘In the new Raymonda the good guy isn't away at the Crusades; he's on the spot.’
      • ‘Soon after, Bartley and O'Briain were on the spot when the march approached the palace, and snipers suddenly opened fire on the Chávez supporters.’
  • put someone on the spot

    • informal Force someone into a situation in which they must make a difficult decision or answer a difficult question.

      • ‘I don't want to put you on the spot, but I know at some point you've had to think about this.’
      • ‘It's hard for her to hear me say that, but if I am put on the spot and asked a difficult question, I'll answer it.’
      • ‘I had been silent for most of the lesson until Peter, the teacher, put me on the spot and asked me a question.’
      • ‘I grabbed my hands behind my back, a gesture that I made every time I was put on the spot or in trouble.’
      • ‘Any time he put her on the spot or asked her a question, she would panic and her voice would go shaky for fear of saying something to embarrass herself.’
      • ‘She's always talking to the actors and putting them on the spot.’
      • ‘It puts McCain on the spot and pulls him right back to the center of this battle.’
      • ‘I did not have to put them on the spot up front and ask them too many questions about themselves.’
      • ‘The next question my friend posed really put me on the spot.’
      • ‘I have never had a student who asked so many questions, who put me on the spot so much, who insisted on understanding every detail of every subject.’
      inconvenience, trouble, bother, impose on, cause inconvenience to, create difficulties for, put someone to any trouble, disoblige
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Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch spotte. The sense notice, recognize arose from the early 19th-century slang use note as a suspect or criminal.