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See more synonyms for spay on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object) Veterinary Medicine.
  1. to remove the ovaries of (an animal).
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Origin of spay1

1375–1425; late Middle English spayen < Anglo-French espeïer to cut with a sword (Old French espeer), derivative of espee sword; see épée
Related formsun·spayed, adjective
Can be confusedspade spayed


  1. a three-year-old male red deer.
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Origin of spay2

1375–1425; late Middle English < ?
Also called spay·ad [spey-uh d] /ˈspeɪ əd/, spay·ard [spey-erd] /ˈspeɪ ərd/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spay

Historical Examples

  • In the course of time, they drank four-and-twenty, when Spay said to the other, "Now we'll go."

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 470


British Dictionary definitions for spay


  1. (tr) to remove the ovaries, and usually the uterus, from (a female animal)
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French espeer to cut with the sword, from espee sword, from Latin spatha
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 spay


early 15c., "stab with a sword, kill," also "remove the ovaries of," from Anglo-French espeier "cut with a sword," from Middle French espeer, from Old French espee "sword" (French épée), from Latin spatha "broad, flat weapon or tool," from Greek spathe "broad blade" (see spade (n.1)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spay in Medicine


  1. To surgically remove the ovaries of an animal.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.