spate

A spate is a large number. If a spate of new coffee shops open in your neighborhood, it’ll be easy for you to stay wide awake. You’ll have easy access to plenty of caffeine.

Though it’s now used to describe a large number or unusually large amount of something, the word spate originally described a sudden flood of water, such as a river overflowing after a downpour. Thinking about being overwhelmed by a sudden rush of water will help you remember to use spate when you encounter an unexpected overflow of anything, whether it’s books, robberies, celebrity break-ups, or corporate mergers.

Definitions of spate
  1. noun
    a sudden forceful flow
    synonyms: rush, surge, upsurge
    see moresee less
    types:
    debris storm, debris surge
    the sudden spread of dust and debris from a collapsing building
    onrush
    a forceful forward rush or flow
    type of:
    flow, flowing
    the motion characteristic of fluids (liquids or gases)
  2. noun
    (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent
    synonyms: batch, deal, flock, good deal, great deal, hatful, heap, lot, mass, mess, mickle, mint, mountain, muckle, passel, peck, pile, plenty, pot, quite a little, raft, sight, slew, stack, tidy sum, wad
    see moresee less
    types:
    barrage, deluge, flood, flurry, inundation, torrent
    an overwhelming number or amount
    haymow
    a mass of hay piled up in a barn for preservation
    type of:
    large indefinite amount, large indefinite quantity
    an indefinite quantity that is above the average in size or magnitude
  3. noun
    the occurrence of a water flow resulting from sudden rain or melting snow
    synonyms: freshet
    see moresee less
    type of:
    flow, flowing
    the motion characteristic of fluids (liquids or gases)
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week