Definitions

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

  • noun A sudden flood, rush, or outpouring.
  • noun A flash flood.
  • noun A freshet resulting from a downpour of rain or melting of snow.
  • noun A sudden heavy fall of rain.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A natural outpour of water; a flood; specifically, a sudden flood or freshet, as from a swollen river or lake.

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

  • noun A river flood; an overflow or inundation.

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

  • noun A river flood; an overflow or inundation.
  • noun A sudden rush or increase.

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

  • noun the occurrence of a water flow resulting from sudden rain or melting snow
  • noun a sudden forceful flow
  • noun (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, of unknown origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Of Celtic origin; compare Irish speid.

Examples

  • But one group of Boston brokers also has detected what they call a spate of "rent engineering" -- a tactic of getting the highest possible face rent by giving the tenant favorable terms on other aspects of the leases.

    Raising Rents

  • To sit immediately below Fidel in full spate is an extraordinary experience.

    Fidel Castro

  • To sit immediately below Fidel in full spate is an extraordinary experience.

    Fidel Castro

  • Here the first need is for the control for flood protection of the waters which come down in sudden spate from the glaciers and snowclad slopes of the Rockies under the effect of the strengthening sun of spring and early summer.

    Boundary Waters Between Canada and the United States

  • The usual six o'clock home-going stream was in spate with Christmas crowds, and Oxford Street was a solid jam.

    Mrs. Miniver

  • The longer-term spate of quakes, starting with the magnitude-9. 3 Indian Ocean event in 2004 that triggered a devastating tsunami, follows a roughly 50-year cycle of earthquake activity, says geophysicist and USGS director Marcia McNutt.

    canada.com Top Stories

  • "We're seeing the beginnings of that through these multiple suicide bombers trying to create a sensational attack that has far-reaching impact," Rodriguez said, referring to a spate of recent bombings targeting hotels, banks and supermarkets.

    U.S. expects Afghan Taliban will launch spring campaign to regain lost ground

  • Calling the spate of initiatives "not terribly substantial," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner R., Ohio said "this reversal is striking since his administration has consistently blocked American-made energy."

    Obama Says He Will Seek to Lift U.S. Oil Output

  • I don't say that Obama has no support out there, but I recall a spate of stories to the effect that she was mopping up most of the support there after his early surge in the area ...

    Hillary Endorsed By A Meathead

  • He called a spate a spate in the most creative and artistic way possible and, at least I, never disgreed with him.

    Ingmar Bergman, Famed Director, Dies at 89 - ArtsBeat Blog - NYTimes.com

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • The Spey in Spate is a fine fiddle tune composed by J. Scott Skinner.

    November 12, 2009

  • "And call a spate a spate." --Finnegans Wake

    January 1, 2013