[ speyt ]
/ speɪt /


a sudden, almost overwhelming, outpouring: a spate of angry words.
  1. a flood or inundation.
  2. a river flooding its banks.
  3. a sudden or heavy rainstorm.

Origin of spate

1400–50; late Middle English (north) < ? Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spate

British Dictionary definitions for spate


/ (speɪt) /


a fast flow, rush, or outpouringa spate of words
mainly British a sudden floodthe rivers were in spate
mainly British a sudden heavy downpour

Word Origin for spate

C15 (Northern and Scottish): of unknown origin
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 spate



early 15c., originally Scottish and northern English, "a sudden flood, especially one caused by heavy rains or a snowmelt," of unknown origin. Perhaps from Old French espoit "flood," from Dutch spuiten "to flow, spout;" related to spout. Figurative sense of "unusual quantity" is attested from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper