• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. water or other liquid broken up into minute droplets and blown, ejected into, or falling through the air.
  2. a jet of fine particles of liquid, as medicine, insecticide, paint, perfume, etc., discharged from an atomizer or other device for direct application to a surface.
  3. a liquid to be discharged or applied in such a jet.
  4. an apparatus or device for discharging such a liquid.
  5. a quantity of small objects, flying or discharged through the air: a spray of shattered glass.
verb (used with object)
  1. to scatter in the form of fine particles.
  2. to apply as a spray: to spray an insecticide on plants.
  3. to sprinkle or treat with a spray: to spray plants with insecticide.
  4. to direct a spray of particles, missiles, etc., upon: to spray the mob with tear gas.
verb (used without object)
  1. to scatter spray; discharge a spray: The hose sprayed over the flowers.
  2. to issue as spray: The water sprayed from the hose.

Origin of spray1

1615–25; < earlier Dutch spraeyen; cognate with Middle High German spræjen
Related formsspray·a·ble, adjectivespray·a·bil·i·ty, nounspray·er, nounspray·less, adjectivespray·like, adjectiveun·spray·a·ble, adjectiveun·sprayed, adjectivewell-sprayed, adjective


  1. a single, slender shoot, twig, or branch with its leaves, flowers, or berries.
  2. a group or bunch of cut flowers, leafy twigs, etc., arranged decoratively and for display, as in a vase.
  3. an ornament having a similar form.

Origin of spray2

1250–1300; Middle English; akin to sprag1
Related formsspray·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spray

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for spray


  1. fine particles of a liquid
    1. a liquid, such as perfume, paint, etc, designed to be discharged from an aerosol or atomizerhair spray
    2. the aerosol or atomizer itself
  2. a quantity of small objects flying through the aira spray of bullets
  1. to scatter (liquid) in the form of fine particles
  2. to discharge (a liquid) from an aerosol or atomizer
  3. (tr) to treat or bombard with a sprayto spray the lawn
Derived Formssprayer, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Middle Dutch sprāien; related to Middle High German spræjen


  1. a single slender shoot, twig, or branch that bears buds, leaves, flowers, or berries, either growing on or detached from a plant
  2. a small decorative bouquet or corsage of flowers and foliage
  3. a piece of jewellery designed to resemble a spray of flowers, leaves, etc

Word Origin

C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old English sprǣc young shoot, Old Norse sprek brittle wood, Old High German sprahhula splinter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for spray


"sprinkle liquid in drops," 1520s, from Middle Dutch sprayen, from Proto-Germanic *spræwjanan (cf. German sprühen "to sparkle, drizzle," Spreu "chaff," literally "that which flies about"), from PIE root *sper- "to sow, scatter" (see sprout (v.)). The noun is attested from 1620s. Spray-painting is from 1902; spray-paint (v.) is from 1928.


"small branch," c.1300, possibly related to Old English spræc "shoot, twig" (see sprig).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spray in Medicine


  1. A fine jet of liquid discharged from a pressurized container.
  1. To disperse a liquid in a jet of droplets.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.