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

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


  • IPA(key)/ˈspɔːn/


spawn (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.
  4. (horticulture) The buds or branches produced from underground stems.
  5. (video games) The location in a game where characters or objects spontaneously appear.


spawn (third-person singular simple present spawnspresent participle spawningsimple 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.
  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.


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