Definition of spot in English:

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Pronunciation: /spät/


1A small round or roundish mark, differing in color or texture from the surface around it: ladybugs have black spots on their red wing covers
More example sentences
  • Their fur, feathers and skins, wonderfully textured and coloured, the symmetry of the patterns they make and the exquisite arrays of stripes and spots are there to be emulated.
  • These spots have raised centers that may develop on either surface of the leaf but are more common on the lower surface.
  • Affected stems often have reddish-brown spots or streaks.
mark, patch, dot, fleck, smudge, smear, stain, blotch, blot, splash
informal splotch
1.1A small mark or stain: a spot of mildew on the wall
More example sentences
  • An infestation can sometimes be recognized by blood stains and dark spots of excreta.
  • Here ink spots clearly are ink spots, and Kalina employs them in a carefree punctuation that sets up a joyful rhythm across the sheet.
  • In his nervousness, he cut himself, standing back and watching the blood trickle down his cheek; a small spot settling on the collar of his shirt.
1.2chiefly British A pimple.
1.3 archaic A moral blemish or stain.
1.4chiefly North American A pip on a domino, playing card, or die.
1.5 [in combination] informal, chiefly North American A banknote of a specified value: a ten-spot
2A particular place or point: a nice secluded spot an ideal picnic spot
More example sentences
  • He crawled, looking for a secluded spot like the Tall Soldier had.
  • It's a wonder how all of this art, architecture and creativity ended up in such a secluded spot.
  • Garbled details would be passed on by word of mouth and soon convoys of hatchbacks would head out for sunrise sessions in motorway service stations and picnic spots.
place, location, site, position, point, situation, scene, setting, locale, locality, area, neighborhood, region;
technical locus
2.1 [with adjective] A small feature or part of something with a particular quality: his bald spot there was one bright spot in a night of dismal failure
More example sentences
  • Finally, the one bright spot amongst the added features is a five-minute excerpt from the boys' appearance at the 1997 Cable Ace Awards.
  • About the only bright spot is the colorful feature starring Lewis Van Dercar.
  • One bright spot is simply that hard-core rap has knocked out such unmusical predecessors as heavy metal and punk.
2.2A position within a listing; a ranking: the runner-up spot
More example sentences
  • But what I really find interesting is that Gosford Park took Black Hawk Down's spot.
  • A few of their top picks (which I will not reveal, out of deference to the work they put into the analysis) went within two or three spots of the predicted order.
  • A labor-union pioneer deserves a spot in baseball's Hall of Fame.
2.3 Sports An advantage allowed to a player as a handicap.
2.4A place for an individual item within a show: she couldn’t do her usual singing spot in the club
More example sentences
  • The audio archives section contains radio spots and full songs related to the film.
  • On the other side are the easily deluded, the ones who believe that a hit single or a television spot circumvents money to actually purchase happiness.
  • Aardman has subsequently worked on a number of advertisements, the most distinctive of which are probably the Lurpak spots featuring a character made of butter named Douglas.
position, place, slot, space
3 informal, chiefly British A small amount of something: a spot of rain
More example sentences
  • Davis brings a beautifully written character to life without a spot of bother, and she makes a wonderful addition to the Spaced cast.
  • Treating me to a spot of food and a fresh coffee in the garden, he started to explain why you should choose to use your art to make political statements.
  • It is not simply schoolchildren who benefit from a spot of Mozart.
4 [as modifier] Denoting a system of trading in which commodities or currencies are delivered and paid for immediately after a sale: trading in the spot markets the current spot price
More example sentences
  • The Detroit ethanol spot price data were obtained from Kapell.
  • When that happened, Bass said, he told buyers to lower spot market bids.
  • There is also a spot market, but no real-time pricing exists.
5 short for spotlight.

verb (spots, spotting, spotted)

1 [with object] See, notice, or recognize (someone or something) that is difficult to detect or that one is searching for: Andrew spotted the ad in the paper the men were spotted by police
More example sentences
  • Late that day one of the search crews spotted Doug's body in such rugged terrain they were unable to get to it before dark.
  • I also spotted a fair amount of grain in the transfer.
  • I like spotting the eel, who is very shy and hides under rocks.
notice, see, observe, note, discern, detect, perceive, make out, recognize, identify, locate;
catch sight of, glimpse
literary behold, espy
1.1 (usually be spotted) Recognize that (someone) has a particular talent, especially for sports or show business: we were spotted by a talent scout
More example sentences
  • That is until a former talent scout for Newcastle United spots him while on holiday and insists he make the trip to trial for the Toon Army.
  • Dumby's spectacular football prowess has been spotted by a city talent scout, which sets up the need for him to win Best Player in the final against a much stronger team.
  • A record label sinks or swims on its A & R department's ability to spot hot new talent, and Grainge considers Cowell one of the best.
1.2 [no object] Military Locate an enemy’s position, typically from the air: they were spotting for enemy aircraft
2 [with object] (usually be spotted) Mark with spots: the velvet was spotted with stains
stain, mark, fleck, speckle, smudge, streak, splash, spatter
informal splotch
2.1 [no object] Become marked with spots: a damp atmosphere causes the flowers to spot
2.2Cover (a surface or area) thinly: thorn trees spotted the land
2.3 archaic Stain or sully the moral character or qualities of.
3 [with object] Place (a billiard ball or football) on its designated starting point.
4 [with two objects] North American informal Give or lend (money) to (someone): I’ll spot you $300
4.1Allow (an advantage) to (someone) in a game or sport: the higher-rated team spots the lower-rated team the difference in their handicaps
5 [with object] Observe or assist (a gymnast) during a performance in order to minimize the chance of injury to the gymnast.



hit the spot

informal Be exactly what is required: the cup of coffee hit the spot
More example sentences
  • It's the pride and sense of achievement in that last line that hits the spot.
  • It hits the spot when I'm in the mood for a creamy, fruity, snack.
  • When it's good, it hits the spot in perfect fashion.

in a spot

informal In a difficult situation.
Example sentences
  • So if you start maxing out your loan now, you might find yourself in a spot three years on, if if reverses the policy and you're left with a gigantic, interest-accruing loan.
predicament, mess, difficulty, trouble, plight, corner, quandary, dilemma
informal fix, jam, hole, sticky situation, can of worms, pickle, scrape, hot water, Catch-22

on the spot

1Without any delay; immediately: he offered me the job on the spot
More example sentences
  • Rider Strong nailed the audition with no direction whatsoever, and won the job on the spot.
  • They were offered jobs with his company on the spot.
  • When he displays his handiness with a temperamental car, he is offered a job on the spot.
immediately, at once, right away, without delay, without hesitation, that instant, directly, there and then, then and there, forthwith, instantly, summarily, straightaway, in short order
archaic straightway
2At the scene of an action or event: journalists on the spot reported no progress
More example sentences
  • The camera provides a sharp, close-up view for the remote physician that is actually superior to what the doctor on the spot can get using his own unaided vision.
  • Soon after, Bartley and O'Briain were on the spot when the march approached the palace, and snipers suddenly opened fire on the Chávez supporters.
  • However, you get to meet luminaries of the opera world, work with fine, like-minded colleagues and are on the spot when opportunities arise.

put someone on the spot

informal Force someone into a situation in which they must make a difficult decision or answer a difficult question.
Example sentences
  • It's hard for her to hear me say that, but if I am put on the spot and asked a difficult question, I'll answer it.
  • I have never had a student who asked so many questions, who put me on the spot so much, who insisted on understanding every detail of every subject.
  • I had been silent for most of the lesson until Peter, the teacher, put me on the spot and asked me a question.


Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch spotte. The sense 'notice, recognize' arose from the early 19th-century slang use 'note as a suspect or criminal'.

Words that rhyme with spot

allot, begot, Bernadotte, blot, bot, capot, clot, cocotte, cot, culotte, dot, forgot, garrotte (US garrote), gavotte, got, grot, hot, jot, knot, lot, Mayotte, motte, not, Ott, outshot, plot, pot, rot, sans-culotte, Scot, Scott, shallot, shot, slot, snot, sot, squat, stot, swat, swot, tot, trot, undershot, Wat, Watt, what, wot, yacht

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: spot

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