Definition of spend in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /spend/

verb (past and past participle spent /spent/)

[with object]
1Pay out (money) in buying or hiring goods or services: the firm has spent $100,000 on hardware and software
More example sentences
  • I'd spend whatever money I had to hire investigators to come down, to follow people, to look at every lead they have.
  • Being a board member of our local animal shelter, I know that much of the money we spend on vet services goes to vaccinations.
  • So adults had more money to spend on goods and services and invest in their families' education.
1.1Pay out (money) for a particular person’s benefit or for the improvement of something: the college spent $140 on each of its students
More example sentences
  • We spent too much money on people that hate us and loathe us and want us out of their country.
  • By now there should be nobody who doesn't agree that how much money we spend per pupil makes a difference.
pay out, dish out, expend, disburse;
squander, waste, fritter away;
informal fork out, lay out, shell out, cough up, drop, blow, splurge, pony up
1.2Used to show the activity in which someone is engaged or the place where they are living over a period of time: she spent a lot of time traveling
More example sentences
  • She spent a sleepless night passing along the police line searching out scraps of news.
  • A driver without a resident's pass wanting to spend three hours in Piccadilly car park must find £6 in coins.
  • Last week the town council passed a motion to spend a day picking up litter around the town.
pass, occupy, fill, take up, while away
put in, devote;
1.3Use or give out the whole of; exhaust: she couldn’t buy any more because she had already spent her money the initial surge of interest had spent itself
More example sentences
  • She put her hands on her hips and watched as the can spent itself.
  • The lightning spent itself and the coach fell to the ground unconscious.
  • The last drops of the rainfall spattered heavily against the cobblestones as the storm spent itself and shook itself off.
use up, consume, exhaust, deplete, drain


An amount of money paid for a particular purpose or over a particular period of time: the average spend at the cafe is about $10 a head
More example sentences
  • This still amounts to an aggregate spend of several millions.
  • The average spend per child is continuing to rise year-on-year.
  • Microsoft group marketing manager Nick McGrath likens the spend to the amount used in launching a new car.


spend a penny

British informal Urinate (used euphemistically).
With reference to the coin-operated locks of public toilets
Example sentences
  • For years drinkers at The Sally Pussey Inn in Swindon Road have been spending a penny in the avocado-coloured urinals blissfully unaware that they may be worth quite a few pounds.
  • At the Lindale Post Office and General Store, villagers have been spending pounds on the National Lottery to ensure people can go on spending a penny in the public toilet.
  • Supt Lacy said those caught spending a penny in public could be hit with maximum fines of £500.



Pronunciation: /ˈspendəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • This means food vouchers spendable only at certain supermarkets, and dispersal to one ‘no choice’ offer of accommodation, often away from existing communities, lawyers and even families.
  • ‘It's still spendable, so it's not exactly scrap,’ Astor pointed out.
  • But having no spendable currency hampered their happiness.


Pronunciation: /ˈspendər/
Example sentences
  • The biggest spenders in monetary terms are Britain at €41 bn, France at €34 bn and Germany at €24 bn.
  • By far the biggest spenders are the Norwegians and the Finns, who spent almost €50 and €38 per person on haircare products in 2002.
  • The highest spenders are people aged between 45 and 64, this group spending on average €314 each on the net before Christmas.


Old English spendan, from Latin expendere 'pay out'; partly also a shortening of obsolete dispend, from Latin dispendere 'pay out'.

  • expense from Late Middle English:

    Expense goes back to Latin expendere ‘pay out’, and shares a root with Old English spend.

Words that rhyme with spend

amend, append, apprehend, ascend, attend, befriend, bend, blend, blende, commend, comprehend, condescend, contend, defriend, depend, emend, end, expend, extend, fend, forfend, friend, impend, interdepend, lend, mend, misapprehend, misspend, offend, on-trend, Oostende, Ostend, perpend, portend, rend, reprehend, scrag-end, send, subtend, suspend, tail end, tend, transcend, trend, underspend, unfriend, upend, vend, weekend, wend

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: spend

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.