From Middle English spenden, from Old English spendan (attested especially in compounds āspendan (to spend), forspendan (to use up, consume)), from Proto-West Germanic *spendōn (to spend), borrowed from Latin expendere (to weigh out). Doublet of expend. Cognate with Old High German spentōn (to consume, use, spend) (whence German spenden (to donate, provide)), Middle Dutch spenden (to spend, dedicate), Old Icelandic spenna (to spend).


  • IPA(key): /spɛnd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


spend (third-person singular simple present spends, present participle spending, simple past and past participle spent)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To pay out (money).
    He spends far more on gambling than he does on living proper.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Then there came a reg'lar terror of a sou'wester same as you don't get one summer in a thousand, and blowed the shanty flat and ripped about half of the weir poles out of the sand. We spent consider'ble money getting 'em reset, and then a swordfish got into the pound and tore the nets all to slathers, right in the middle of the squiteague season.
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8837, page 74:
      In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result.
  2. To bestow; to employ; often with on or upon.
    • [1633], George Herbert, [Nicholas Ferrar], editor, The Temple: Sacred Poems, and Private Ejaculations, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel; and are to be sold by Francis Green, [], OCLC 1048966979; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, [], 1885, OCLC 54151361:
      I [] am never loath / To spend my judgment.
  3. (dated) To squander.
    to spend an estate in gambling
  4. To exhaust, to wear out.
    The violence of the waves was spent.
    • 1603, Richard Knolles, The Generall Historie of the Turkes, [], London: [] Adam Islip, OCLC 837543169:
      their bodies spent with long labour and thirst
  5. To consume, to use up (time).
    My sister usually spends her free time in nightclubs.
    We spent the winter in the south of France.
    • 1661, John Fell, The Life of the most learned, reverend and pious Dr. H. Hammond
      During the whole time of his abode in the university he generally spent thirteen hours of the day in study; by which assiduity besides an exact dispatch of the whole course of philosophy, he read over in a manner all classic authors that are extant []
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 13, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      We tiptoed into the house, up the stairs and along the hall into the room where the Professor had been spending so much of his time.
    • 2012, Christoper Zara, Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World's Most Creative Minds, part 1, chapter 1, 26:
      Clara's father, a trollish ne'er-do-well who spent most of his time in brothels and saloons, would disappear for days and weeks at a stretch, leaving Clara and her mother to fend for themselves.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
  6. (dated, transitive, intransitive) To have an orgasm; to ejaculate sexually.
    The fish spends his semen on eggs which he finds floating and whose mother he has never seen.
  7. (intransitive) To waste or wear away; to be consumed.
    Energy spends in the using of it.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], OCLC 1044372886:
      The sound spendeth and is dissipated in the open air.
  8. To be diffused; to spread.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], OCLC 1044372886:
      The vines that they use for wine are so often cut, that their sap spendeth into the grapes.
  9. (mining) To break ground; to continue working.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


spend (countable and uncountable, plural spends)

  1. Amount of money spent (during a period); expenditure.
    I’m sorry, boss, but the advertising spend exceeded the budget again this month.
  2. (in the plural) Expenditures; money or pocket money.
    • 2011 February 1, Sedghi, Ami, “Record breaking January transfers: find the spends by club”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Total January spends by year
    • 2011, “Council spending over £500”, in Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council[2], retrieved 2012-01-26:
      The spends have been made by our strategic partners []
  3. Discharged semen.
  4. Vaginal discharge.