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[spey] /speɪ/
verb (used with object), Veterinary Medicine
to remove the ovaries of (an animal).
Origin of spay1
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English spayen < Anglo-French espeïer to cut with a sword (Old French espeer), derivative of espee sword; see épée
Related forms
unspayed, adjective
Can be confused
spade, spayed.


[spey] /speɪ/
a three-year-old male red deer.
Also called spayad
[spey-uh d] /ˈspeɪ əd/ (Show IPA),
[spey-erd] /ˈspeɪ ərd/ (Show IPA)
1375-1425; late Middle English < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spay
  • If people would spay and neuter their animals then there might not be such a problem.
  • Experts attribute the decline in large part to aggressive spay and neuter programs initiated by shelters and humane societies.
  • He can spay or neuter any of his own dogs as he wishes.
  • They don't neuter or spay and they end up with litters and litters of puppies that no one wants.
  • It increased the number of horses that would be returned to the lands and decided not to spay the mares.
  • Below are some low cost spay and neuter facilities in the area.
British Dictionary definitions for spay


(transitive) to remove the ovaries, and usually the uterus, from (a female animal)
Word Origin
C15: from Old French espeer to cut with the sword, from espee sword, from Latin spatha
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spay

early 15c., "stab with a sword, kill," also "remove the ovaries of," from Anglo-French espeier "cut with a sword," from Middle French espeer, from Old French espee "sword" (French épée), from Latin spatha "broad, flat weapon or tool," from Greek spathe "broad blade" (see spade (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spay in Medicine

spay (spā)
v. spayed, spay·ing, spays
To surgically remove the ovaries of an animal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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