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[spot-er] /ˈspɒt ər/
a person employed to remove spots from clothing, especially at a dry-cleaning establishment.
(in civil defense) a civilian who watches for enemy airplanes.
Informal. a person employed to watch the activity and behavior of others, especially employees, as for evidence of dishonesty.
Military. an observer at a forward position who singles out targets for gunners.
a person or thing that spots.
(in small-arms practice firing) a small black disk attached to the target to make more prominent the places where a bullet has hit.
an assistant to a sportscaster who provides the names of the players chiefly involved in each play of a game, especially a football game.
Gymnastics, Tumbling. a person who is stationed in the most effective place to guard against an injury to a performer in the act of executing a maneuver.
Origin of spotter
1605-15; spot + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spotter
Historical Examples
  • Experience had taught the spotter the type of man one may pounce on without fear of sharp words or resentful blows.

  • You may be a spotter, for all I know, but I don't care a hang.

    The Wreckers Francis Lynde
  • On this day, when Croly Addicks had finished his modest lunch, the spotter was lurking near the exit.

  • You had a spotter working this up, I suppose: who is he, and where is he?

    The Price Francis Lynde
  • "That won't make me bust out cryin', Chinless," called the spotter derisively.

  • And in the meantime, if things panned, Jimmy could be useful as a spotter.

    The Fourth R George Oliver Smith
  • Or he may have to report the results of a mock bombardment, and thus prepare himself for the duties of the artillery “spotter.”

    The Romance of Aircraft Lawrence Yard Smith
  • The tired-looking man on the street-car may, in fact, be a professional "spotter."

    Courts and Criminals Arthur Train
  • Now Hatch tells me that I was working with a spotter—his spotter—and that he can send me up for bribery.

    The Wreckers Francis Lynde
  • Pauduveris had been employed by the United Railroads as a “spotter.”

British Dictionary definitions for spotter


  1. a person or thing that watches or observes
  2. (as modifier): a spotter plane
a person who makes a hobby of watching for and noting numbers or types of trains, buses, etc: a train spotter
(military) a person who orders or advises adjustment of fire on a target by observations
a person, esp one engaged in civil defence, who watches for enemy aircraft
(US, informal) an employee assigned to spy on his colleagues in order to check on their honesty
  1. a person who checks against irregularities and inconsistencies
  2. a person who searches for new material, performers, etc
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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