Definition of spate in English:


Syllabification: spate
Pronunciation: /spāt


1 [usually in singular] A large number of similar things or events appearing or occurring in quick succession: a spate of attacks on travelers
More example sentences
  • After a spate of attacks in March and April this year, bookmakers have become increasingly successful in fending off attacks.
  • With greed left to take its course, a spate of scandals has erupted among foundations and charities.
  • Technology stocks took a fresh battering after a spate of US profit warnings spread gloom across world financial markets.
series, succession, run, cluster, string, rash, epidemic, outbreak, wave, flurry, rush, flood, deluge, torrent
2chiefly British A sudden flood in a river, especially one caused by heavy rains or melting snow.
More example sentences
  • As the river rapidly went into full spate, the ice blue turned chocolate brown and became unfishable.


late Middle English (originally Scots and northern English in the sense 'flood, inundation'): of unknown origin.


in (full) spate

(Of a river) overflowing due to a sudden flood.
More example sentences
  • Should the river be swollen in spate, it is one of the best places in Scotland to witness the true magic of the spectacular leaping antics of the genuine wild Atlantic salmon.
  • Not long ago, one used to spot plaques in many parts of the city, depicting the highest flood level of the river in spate.
  • Many of the local rivers were in spate especially the Owveg River.
(Of a person or action) at the height of activity: work was in full spate
More example sentences
  • By then Stalin's terror was in full spate.
  • The sexual revolution was in full spate.
  • There are very few occasions as exhilarating as a youth orchestra in full spate.

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Pronunciation: ˈdeɪktɪk
denoting a word whose meaning depends on context...