[ spam ]
See synonyms for Spam on
  1. a canned food product consisting especially of pork formed into a solid block.

  1. (lowercase)Digital Technology. disruptive online messages, especially commercial messages posted on a computer network or sent as email (often used attributively): Install spam blocker software and keep your email spam filters updated to protect your accounts from unsolicited spam.

  1. (lowercase)Digital Technology. (of promotional content on the internet) irrelevant or misdirected: The search engine delivered spam websites that had nothing to do with my keywords.

verb (used with object),spammed, spam·ming.
  1. (lowercase)Digital Technology. to send spam to.

  2. (lowercase)Digital Technology. to execute (an action) or use (an item) rapidly or repeatedly in a video game: Spam the attack button as soon as the fight begins.

verb (used without object),spammed, spam·ming.
  1. (lowercase)Digital Technology. to send spam.

Origin of Spam

First recorded in 1937 for the trademarked term; sp(iced) + (h)am1; 1990–95 for the other senses, probably referring to a comedy routine on Monty Python's Flying Circus, British TV series, in which the word Spam is used repeatedly

Other words from Spam

  • spammer, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Spam in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spam (1 of 2)


/ (spæm) computing slang /

verbspams, spamming or spammed
  1. to send unsolicited electronic mail or text messages simultaneously to a number of e-mail addresses or mobile phones

  1. unsolicited electronic mail or text messages sent in this way

Origin of spam

C20: from the repeated use of the word Spam in a popular sketch from the British television show Monty Python's Flying Circus, first broadcast in 1969

Derived forms of spam

  • spammer, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Spam (2 of 2)


/ (spæm) /

  1. trademark a kind of tinned luncheon meat, made largely from pork

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

Cultural definitions for spam


Unsolicited, undesired e-mail. Also used as a verb. Spam is the e-mail version of junk mail.

Notes for spam

The name comes from a Monty Python comedy skit about a restaurant that served only Spam.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.