Definition of spot in English:

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Pronunciation: /spɒt/


1A small round or roundish mark, differing in colour or texture from the surface around it: ladybirds 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, pop, dot, speck, speckle, fleck, smudge, smear, stain, blotch, blot, splash, daub
technical petechia
informal splotch, splosh, splodge
rare macule, macula
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.
liver spot, age spot, mole;
birthmark, port wine stain, strawberry mark
technical naevus
1.2A blemish on someone’s character or reputation.
1.3chiefly North American A pip on a domino, playing card, or dice.
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, neighbourhood, region;
technical locus
2.1 [with adjective or noun modifier] A small feature or part of something with a particular quality: his bald spot his campaign has hit a rough spot
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.
2.2 short for penalty spot.
2.3A 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.
2.4A 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, niche, slot, space
informal window
3A pimple.
pimple, pustule, blemish, blackhead, boil, swelling, eruption, wen, sty;
pock, pockmark;
(spots) acne, rash;
Scottish  plook
technical comedo
informal zit, whitehead
North American informal hickey
rare papule, bleb, whelk, blain
4 informal, chiefly British A small amount of something: a spot of rain a spot of bother flared up
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.
bit, little, some, small amount, morsel, modicum, bite;
drop, splash
informal smidgen, smidge, tad
Scottish informal scoosh
4.1 dated A small alcoholic drink: may I offer you a spot?
5 [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.
6 short for spotlight.
7 (also spot board) A board for working plaster before application.
Example sentences
  • Place the hawk alongside the spot board and with the trowel in your working hand scoop some plaster onto the board about the size and shape of a loaf of bread.
  • Set the blade of the float at right angles to the spot board and push a measure of plaster towards the edge furthest away from you.
  • I must admit I have used spot boards on large jobs, but then we mixed 7 bags in one go, and had 2 labourers to refill the spots.
8 [in combination] informal, chiefly North American A banknote of a specified value: a ten-spot

verb (spots, spotting, spotted)

[with object]
1See, notice, or recognize (someone or something) that is difficult to detect or that one is searching for: Andrew spotted the advert 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, discern, detect, perceive, make out, pick out, distinguish, recognize, identify, locate;
catch sight of, glimpse, sight;
mark, remark
British informal clock
literary descry, espy
1.1Recognize that (someone) has a particular talent, especially for sport 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.
1.2British Observe and note the details of (a certain class of thing) as a hobby: women don’t collect stamps or spot trains
1.3 [no object] Military Locate an enemy’s position, typically from the air: they were spotting for enemy aircraft
1.4(In weight training, gymnastics, etc.) observe (a performer) in order to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries.
2Mark or become marked with spots: [with object]: the velvet was spotted with stains
stain, mark, fleck, speckle, blotch, mottle, smudge, streak, splash, spatter, bespatter;
dirty, soil
informal splotch, splosh, splodge
literary besmirch, smirch
2.1 [with object] Cover (a surface or area) thinly: thorn trees spotted the land
2.2 [with object] archaic Stain or sully the moral character or qualities of: they might be spotted merely with the errors introduced by Luther
sully, stain, tarnish, blacken, taint, blemish
3 [no object] (it spots, it is spotting, etc.) Rain slightly: it was still spotting with rain
rain lightly, drizzle;
British  spit;
Northern English  mizzle;
North American  sprinkle
4Place (a ball) on its designated starting point on a billiard table.
5 [with two objects] North American informal Give or lend (money) to (someone): I’ll spot you $300
5.1Allow (an advantage) to (someone) in a game or sport: the higher-rated team spots the lower-rated team the difference in their handicaps



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.
difficult situation, awkward situation, tricky situation, predicament, mess, difficulty, trouble, plight, corner, quandary, dilemma
informal fix, jam, hole, sticky situation, pickle, scrape, pretty/fine kettle of fish, hot water, how-do-you-do

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, there and then, then and there, straight away, right away, forthwith, instantly, summarily, without delay, without hesitation, at once, that instant, directly;
North American  in short order
archaic straight, straightway, instanter, forthright
2At the scene of an 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.
3British (With reference to an action) performed without moving from one’s original position: running on the spot
More example sentences
  • There's stretching and jumping and marching on the spot.
  • The better it gets, the more she jabs her arms and hops up and down on the spot.
  • They're all presented in glorious new digital garb and remind some of us of a certain age that simply jumping up and down on the spot was once considered dancing.

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

Line breaks: spot

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