Zoology. the mass of eggs deposited by fishes, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, etc.
Mycology. the mycelium of mushrooms, especially of the species grown for the market.
a swarming brood; numerous progeny.
(used with a singular or plural verb) any person or thing regarded as the offspring of some stock, idea, etc.
verb (used without object)
to deposit eggs or sperm directly into the water, as fishes.
verb (used with object)
to produce (spawn).
to give birth to; give rise to: His sudden disappearance spawned many rumors.
to produce in large number.
to plant with mycelium.

1350–1400; Middle English spawnen (v.), probably < Anglo-French espaundre (Old French espandre) to expand

spawner, noun
unspawned, adjective

7. engender, generate, yield, beget. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To spawn
World English Dictionary
spawn (spɔːn)
1.  the mass of eggs deposited by fish, amphibians, or molluscs
2.  derogatory often offspring, product, or yield
3.  botany the nontechnical name for mycelium
4.  (of fish, amphibians, etc) to produce or deposit (eggs)
5.  derogatory often (of people) to produce (offspring)
6.  (tr) to produce or engender
[C14: from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Old French spandre to spread out, expand]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1413, from Anglo-Fr. espaundre, O.Fr. espandre "to spread out, pour out," from L. expandere (see expand). The notion is of a "spreading out" of fish eggs released in water. The meaning "to engender, give rise to" is attested from 1594. The noun is first recorded c.1430; fig.
sense of "brood, offspring" is from 1590.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spawn   (spôn)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The eggs of water animals such as fish, amphibians, and mollusks.

  2. Offspring produced in large numbers.

Verb   To lay eggs; produce spawn.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Computing Dictionary

spawn definition

operating system
To create a child process in a multitasking operating system. E.g. Unix's fork system call or one of the spawn() library routines provided by most MS-DOS, Novell NetWare and OS/2 C compilers - spawnl(), spawnle(), etc.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Friends in publishing think of those writers as the spawn of the devil, the
  evil seeds.
Salmon learn where to spawn from the smell of the water in which they grew up.
All attempts at definition simply spawn tautologies.
In certain seasons the smelt come in to spawn after high tide at particular
  times of the month.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature