1. The eggs of aquatic animals such as bivalve mollusks, fishes, and amphibians.
2. Offspring, especially when occurring in large numbers.
3. A product or an outcome: the spawn of a prodigious imagination.
4. Mycelia of mushrooms or other fungi grown in specially prepared organic matter for planting in beds.
v. spawned, spawn·ing, spawns
1. To deposit eggs; produce spawn.
2. To produce offspring in large numbers.
1. To produce or deposit (spawn).
2. To produce (offspring).
3. To produce or give rise to: tyranny that spawned revolt.
4. To plant with mycelia grown in specially prepared organic matter.
[Middle English spawne, from spawnen, to spawn, from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Latin expandere; see EXPAND.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.