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

  • n. The eggs of aquatic animals such as bivalve mollusks, fishes, and amphibians.
  • n. Offspring occurring in numbers; brood.
  • n. A person who is the issue of a parent or family.
  • n. The source of something; a germ or seed.
  • n. A product or an outcome.
  • n. Mycelia of mushrooms or other fungi grown in specially prepared organic matter for planting in beds.
  • intransitive v. To deposit eggs; produce spawn.
  • intransitive v. To produce offspring in large numbers.
  • transitive v. To produce or deposit (spawn).
  • transitive v. To produce in large numbers.
  • transitive v. To give rise to; engender: tyranny that spawned revolt.
  • transitive v. To cause to spawn; bring forth; produce: a family that had spawned a monster.
  • transitive v. To plant with mycelia grown in specially prepared organic matter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The ova, or eggs, of fishes, oysters, and other aquatic animals.
  • n. Any product or offspring; -- used contemptuously.
  • n. The buds or branches produced from underground stems.
  • n. The white fibrous matter forming the matrix from which fungi.
  • intransitive v. To deposit eggs, as fish or frogs do.
  • intransitive v. To issue, as offspring; -- used contemptuously.
  • transitive v. To produce or deposit (eggs), as fishes or frogs do.
  • transitive v. To bring forth; to generate; -- used in contempt.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Offspring of fish; very small fish; fry.
  • n. Offspring in general; a swarming brood: applied, mostly in contempt, to human beings.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. call forth
  • n. the mass of eggs deposited by fish or amphibians or molluscs
  • v. lay spawn


Middle English spawne, from spawnen, to spawn, from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Latin expandere; see expand.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since 1413; from Middle English spawne, spawnen, from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Old French espandre, from Latin expandere ("stretch out", "spread out"). (Wiktionary)



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