See more synonyms for spawn on
noun, plural spawn, spawns.
  1. Zoology. the mass of eggs deposited by fishes, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, etc.
  2. Mycology. the mycelium of mushrooms, especially of the species grown for the market.
  3. Usually Disparaging. a swarming brood; numerous progeny:Diners at the restaurant were annoyed by the two inconsiderate parents and their unruly spawn.
  4. any person or thing regarded as the offspring of some stock, idea, etc.
  1. of or relating to the spawning of a character or item in a video game:a spawn point;the spawn rate.
verb (used without object)
  1. to deposit eggs or sperm directly into the water, as fishes.
  2. (of a character or item in a video game) to originate at a fixed point in an existing game environment:An enemy character just spawned right on top of me!
verb (used with object)
  1. to produce (spawn).
  2. to give birth to; give rise to: His sudden disappearance spawned many rumors.
  3. to produce in large number.
  4. to plant with mycelium.

Origin of spawn

1350–1400; Middle English spawnen (v.), probably < Anglo-French espaundre (Old French espandre) to expand
Related formsspawn·er, nounun·spawned, adjective

Synonyms for spawn

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for spawn


  1. the mass of eggs deposited by fish, amphibians, or molluscs
  2. often derogatory offspring, product, or yield
  3. botany the nontechnical name for mycelium
  1. (of fish, amphibians, etc) to produce or deposit (eggs)
  2. often derogatory (of people) to produce (offspring)
  3. (tr) to produce or engender
Derived Formsspawner, noun

Word Origin for spawn

C14: from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Old French spandre to spread out, expand
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 spawn

early 15c., from Anglo-French espaundre, Old French espandre "to spread out, pour out," from Latin expandere (see expand). The notion is of a "spreading out" of fish eggs released in water. The meaning "to engender, give rise to" is attested from 1590s. Related: Spawned; spawning.


early 15c., from spawn (v.); figurative sense of "brood, offspring" is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spawn in Science


  1. The eggs of water animals such as fish, amphibians, and mollusks.
  2. Offspring produced in large numbers.
  1. To lay eggs; produce spawn.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.