verb (used with object), spent, spend·ing.

verb (used without object), spent, spend·ing.

to spend money, energy, time, etc.
Obsolete. to be consumed or exhausted.

Origin of spend

1125–75; Middle English spenden, continuing Old English -spendan (in āspendan, forspendan to spend entirely or utterly) < West Germanic < Latin expendere to pay out, expend; compare German spenden
Related formsan·ti·spend·ing, adjectiveun·der·spend, verb, un·der·spent, un·der·spend·ing.un·spend·ing, adjective

Synonyms for spend

1. Spend, disburse, expend, squander refer to paying out money. Spend is the general word: We spend more for living expenses now. Disburse implies expending from a specific source or sum to meet specific obligations, or paying in definite allotments: The treasurer has authority to disburse funds. Expend is more formal, and implies spending for some definite and (usually) sensible or worthy object: to expend most of one's salary on necessities. Squander suggests lavish, wasteful, or foolish expenditure: to squander a legacy. 2. use, apply, devote.

Antonyms for spend

1. earn, keep.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spends

Contemporary Examples of spends

Historical Examples of spends

  • I think he spends hours in that boat, and what he does I can't conceive.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Every woman has money of her own, and spends it for jewelry.

  • And when your husband earns anything he spends it in drink, I suppose?

  • She spends some time in her own house, but is often away visiting other Temples.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • The man who spends his life looking for crime must have the soul of a criminal!

British Dictionary definitions for spends


pl n

Lancashire dialect a child's pocket money


verb spends, spending or spent

to pay out (money, wealth, etc)
(tr) to concentrate (time, effort, thought, etc) upon an object, activity, etc
(tr) to pass (time) in a specific way, activity, place, etc
(tr) to use up completelythe hurricane spent its force
(tr) to give up (one's blood, life, etc) in a cause
(intr) obsolete to be used up or exhausted
spend a penny British informal to urinate


an amount of money spent, esp regularly, or allocated to be spent
See also spends
Derived Formsspendable, adjective

Word Origin for spend

Old English spendan, from Latin expendere; influenced also by Old French despendre to spend, from Latin dispendere; see expend, dispense
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 spends



"to pay out or away" (money or wealth), Old English -spendan (in forspendan "use up"), from Latin expendere "to weigh out money, pay down" (see expend). A general Germanic borrowing (cf. Old High German spendon, German and Middle Dutch spenden, Old Norse spenna). In reference to labor, thoughts, time, etc., attested from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with spends


see pocket (spending) money.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.