Word of the Day: spot

Word of the Day
June 14, 2016
spot (noun, verb)
/spɑt/ sound icon
There are some red spots in this watercolor painting.
A spot is a stain, a mark on the skin, or part of a surface that is different from the rest. Spot is also a synonym for 'place' and is also a position in a hierarchy. Figuratively, a spot is a flaw, something that harms a person's reputation. A spot is also a brief commercial. As a verb, spot means 'to stain, or mark, something' or 'to get stained' or 'to harm someone's reputation.' It also means 'to detect or identify by seeing' and 'to place something at intervals.'


Example sentences
Ben was annoyed to see he had a spot on his new shirt.
When I take off my glasses, there are always red spots on the sides of my nose.
Helen decided she liked the T-shirt with the spots better than the one with the stripes.
This is the spot where the accident happened.
The incident was a spot on James's otherwise flawless work record.
The wine spotted the tablecloth.
The captain spotted another ship on the horizon.
The general spotted guards around the perimeter of the camp.


Multi-word forms
spot on (UK): just right, perfect. Example: "Is that what you wanted?" "Yes, spot on!"
on the spot: in a difficult position, for which you are unprepared. Example: "When Veronica's boss asked her which of her colleagues was to blame for the mistake, in front of everyone in the office, he really put her on the spot."
hit the spot: be very satisfying. Example: "That cup of coffee really hit the spot!"
Additional information
In UK English, a spot is also a small quantity of something. Example: "We had a spot of rain yesterday, but not enough to stop us going out." Informally (in the US and UK), to spot means 'to lend.' Example: "Could you spot me £10 until the end of the week?" In the UK, spot also can refer to a kind of acne; in the US we say pimple or zit.
Did you know?
To spot can also mean to shed small quantities of menstrual blood, especially used in the gerund form "spotting." The term is used particularly to talk about small amounts of bleeding between menstrual periods and during pregnancy. Example: "Women often experience some spotting during pregnancy and it is normally nothing to worry about, but it's always a good idea to check with your doctor, just to be sure."
Other forms
spotty (adjective)
As a noun, spot originated in the late 12th century, from the Middle English word spotte. It is similar to the Middle Dutch word spotte, the Low German word speck, meaning 'stain,' and the Old Norse word spotti, meaning 'bit.' The verb first appeared as the late Middle English word spotten, 'to stain, mark,' and comes from the noun.
Spot in other languages
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