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)”).
- (transitive) To produce or deposit (eggs) in water.
- (transitive) To generate, bring into being, especially non-mammalian beings in very large numbers.
- (transitive) To bring forth in general.
- The Web server spawns a new process to handle each client's request.
- (transitive) To induce (aquatic organisms) to spawn.
- (transitive) To plant with fungal spawn.
- (intransitive) To deposit (numerous) eggs in water.
- (intransitive) To reproduce, especially in large numbers.
- (ergative, video games, of a character or object) (To cause) to appear spontaneously in a game at a certain point and time.
spawn (plural spawn or spawns)
- The numerous eggs of an aquatic organism.
- Mushroom mycelium prepared for (aided) propagation.
- (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):
- 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.
- (horticulture) The buds or branches produced from underground stems.
- (video games) The location in a game where characters or objects spontaneously appear.