from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The eggs of aquatic animals such as bivalve mollusks, fishes, and amphibians.
  • noun Offspring, especially when occurring in large numbers.
  • noun A product or an outcome.
  • noun Mycelia of mushrooms or other fungi grown in specially prepared organic matter for planting in beds.
  • intransitive verb To deposit eggs; produce spawn.
  • intransitive verb To produce offspring in large numbers.
  • intransitive verb To produce or deposit (spawn).
  • intransitive verb To produce (offspring).
  • intransitive verb To produce or give rise to.
  • intransitive verb To plant with mycelia grown in specially prepared organic matter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To produce or lay (eggs): said of a female fish, and by extension of other animals; hence, to generate. It is sometimes applied, in contempt, to human beings.
  • To produce or lay eggs of the kinds called spawn, as a fish, frog, mollusk, or crustacean; by extension, to produce offspring: said of other animals, and, in contempt, of human beings.
  • To issue, as the eggs or young of a fish: by extension applied to other animals, and to human beings, in contempt.
  • noun The eggs or ova of various oviparous animals, as amphibians, fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, etc., when small and numerous, or extruded in more or less coherent masses; female roe.
  • noun The spat of the oyster, from the time of the discharge of the egg until the shell is visible and the creature has become attached.
  • noun Offspring of fish; very small fish; fry.
  • noun Offspring in general; a swarming brood: applied, mostly in contempt, to human beings.
  • noun In botany, the mycelium of fungi; the white fibrous matter forming the matrix from which fungi are produced.
  • Containing spawn; spawning, or about to spawn; ripe, as a fish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To produce or deposit (eggs), as fishes or frogs do.
  • transitive verb To bring forth; to generate; -- used in contempt.
  • noun The ova, or eggs, of fishes, oysters, and other aquatic animals.
  • noun Any product or offspring; -- used contemptuously.
  • noun (Hort.) The buds or branches produced from underground stems.
  • noun (Bot.) The white fibrous matter forming the matrix from which fungi.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a small American cyprinoid fish (Notropis Hudsonius) allied to the dace.
  • intransitive verb To deposit eggs, as fish or frogs do.
  • intransitive verb To issue, as offspring; -- used contemptuously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To produce or deposit (eggs) in water.
  • verb transitive To generate, bring into being, especially non-mammalian beings in very large numbers.
  • verb transitive To bring forth in general.
  • verb transitive To induce (aquatic organisms) to spawn
  • verb transitive To plant with fungal spawn
  • verb intransitive To deposit (numerous) eggs in water.
  • verb intransitive To reproduce, especially in large numbers.
  • verb ergative, video games (To cause) to appear spontaneously in a game at a certain point and time.
  • noun The numerous eggs of an aquatic organism
  • noun Mushroom mycelium prepared for (aided) propagation
  • noun by extension Any germ or seed, even a figurative source; offspring
  • noun video games The location in a game where characters or objects spontaneously appear.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb call forth
  • noun the mass of eggs deposited by fish or amphibians or molluscs
  • verb lay spawn


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English spawne, from spawnen, to spawn, from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Latin expandere; see expand.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since 1413; from Middle English spawne, spawnen, from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Old French espandre, from Latin expandere ("stretch out", "spread out").


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  • As in "spawn of Satan".

    January 7, 2007

  • As in salmon's imperative

    July 26, 2007