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

  • noun A mark on a surface differing sharply in color from its surroundings.
  • noun A blemish, mark, or pimple on the skin.
  • noun A stain or blot.
  • noun A mark or pip on a playing card; a spade, club, diamond, or heart.
  • noun A playing card with a specified number of such marks on it indicating its value.
  • noun Informal A piece of paper money worth a specified number of dollars.
  • noun A small area.
  • noun A location or position.
  • noun A point of interest.
  • noun A position or an item in an ordered arrangement.
  • noun Football The position of the ball for the line of scrimmage as determined by a referee after a play.
  • noun Informal A situation, especially a troublesome one.
  • noun A flaw in one's reputation or character.
  • noun A short presentation or commercial on television or radio between major programs.
  • noun Informal A spotlight.
  • noun A small croaker (Leiostomus xanthurus) of North American Atlantic waters, having a dark mark above each pectoral fin and valued as a food and game fish.
  • noun Chiefly British A small amount; a bit.
  • intransitive verb To cause a spot or spots to appear on, especially.
  • intransitive verb To soil with spots.
  • intransitive verb To decorate with spots; dot.
  • intransitive verb To bring disgrace to; besmirch.
  • intransitive verb To place in a particular location; situate precisely.
  • intransitive verb Football To position (the ball) determining the line of scrimmage after a play has been completed.
  • intransitive verb To detect or discern, especially visually; spy.
  • intransitive verb To remove spots from, as in a laundry.
  • intransitive verb Sports To yield a favorable scoring margin to.
  • intransitive verb Sports To act as a spotter for (a gymnast, for example).
  • intransitive verb Informal To lend.
  • intransitive verb To become marked with spots.
  • intransitive verb To cause a discoloration or make a stain.
  • intransitive verb To locate targets from the air during combat or training missions.
  • adjective Made, paid, or delivered immediately.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or being a market in which payment or delivery is immediate.
  • adjective Involving random or selective instances or actions.
  • adjective Presented between major radio or television programs.
  • idiom (in spots) Now and then; here and there; occasionally.
  • idiom (on the spot) Without delay; at once.
  • idiom (on the spot) At the scene of action.
  • idiom (on the spot) Under pressure or attention; in a pressed position.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In New Zealand, to buy up (choice spots of land containing water, etc.), ruining the neighboring property. Called peacock in Australia.
  • See blaze, 2, 3.
  • noun A stain made by foreign matter; a blot; a speck.
  • noun A blemish; a flaw, a fault; especially, a stain upon moral purity.
  • noun A bit of surface differing in some way from the rest, as in color, material, or finish; a dot; a small mark.
  • noun A pustule or other eruptive mark, as in a rash.
  • noun One of the pips on a playing-card; hence, in composition with a numeral, the card having pips to the number expressed: as, to play a ten-spot


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

[Middle English, from Old English.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English spot or spotte, cognate with Middle Dutch spotte ("spot speck"), Low German spot, and Old Norse spotti ("small piece"). Also Old English splott ("spot, plot of land").


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  • A useful term for 'a bit of', as in, "I'll have a spot of orange juice, please?"

    August 21, 2008