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See also: Spawn


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Etymology 1[edit]

Recorded since 1413; from Middle English spawnen, from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Old French espandre, from Latin expandere (stretch out; spread out, verb). Doublet of expand. Compare also Middle English spalden, spolden, spawden (to cut open (a fish)).


spawn (third-person singular simple present spawns, present participle spawning, simple past and past participle spawned)

  1. (transitive) To produce or deposit (eggs) in water.
  2. (transitive) To generate, bring into being, especially non-mammalian beings in very large numbers.
  3. (transitive) To bring forth in general.
    The Web server spawns a new process to handle each client's request.
  4. (transitive) To induce (aquatic organisms) to spawn.
  5. (transitive) To plant with fungal spawn.
  6. (intransitive) To deposit (numerous) eggs in water.
    • 2014 April 20, Richard Conniff, “An evolutionary family drama”, in The New York Times[1]:
      Alewives are anadromous fish: Born in freshwater, they spend their lives in the ocean, returning annually to their birthplaces to spawn.
  7. (intransitive) To reproduce, especially in large numbers.
  8. (ergative, video games, of a character or object) (To cause) to appear spontaneously in a game at a certain point and time.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English spawne, from the verb (see above).


spawn (countable and uncountable, plural spawn or spawns)

  1. The numerous eggs of an aquatic organism.
  2. Mushroom mycelium prepared for (aided) propagation.
  3. (by extension, sometimes derogatory) Any germ or seed, even a figurative source; offspring.
    • 2012 June 3, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Mr. Plow” (season 4, episode 9; originally aired 11/19/1992)”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[2]:
      Even the blithely unselfconscious Homer is more than a little freaked out by West’s private reverie, and encourages his spawn to move slowly away without making eye contact with the crazy man.
  4. (horticulture) The buds or branches produced from underground stems.
  5. (video games) The location in a game where characters or objects spontaneously appear.
Derived terms[edit]