Origin of spawn

1350–1400; Middle English spawnen (v.), probably < Anglo-French espaundre (Old French espandre) to expand

Related forms

spawn·er, nounun·spawned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spawn

British Dictionary definitions for spawn


/ (spɔːn) /


the mass of eggs deposited by fish, amphibians, or molluscs
often derogatory offspring, product, or yield
botany the nontechnical name for mycelium


(of fish, amphibians, etc) to produce or deposit (eggs)
often derogatory (of people) to produce (offspring)
(tr) to produce or engender

Derived Forms

spawner, 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

Science definitions for spawn


[ spôn ]


The eggs of water animals such as fish, amphibians, and mollusks.
Offspring produced in large numbers.


To lay eggs; produce spawn.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.