on the spot

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a. A mark on a surface differing sharply in color from its surroundings.
b. A blemish, mark, or pimple on the skin.
c. A stain or blot.
2. Games
a. A mark or pip on a playing card; a spade, club, diamond, or heart.
b. A playing card with a specified number of such marks on it indicating its value.
3. Informal A piece of paper money worth a specified number of dollars: a five spot.
a. A small area: a bald spot; an itchy spot.
b. A location or position: a good spot for catching fish.
c. A point of interest: There are a lot of spots to visit in the old city.
d. A position or an item in an ordered arrangement: the first spot in line.
e. Football The position of the ball for the line of scrimmage as determined by a referee after a play.
5. Informal A situation, especially a troublesome one.
6. A flaw in one's reputation or character: a dark spot in his past.
7. A short presentation or commercial on television or radio between major programs: a news spot.
8. Informal A spotlight.
9. pl. spot or spots A small croaker (Leiostomus xanthurus) of North American Atlantic waters, having a dark mark above each pectoral fin and valued as a food and game fish.
10. Chiefly British A small amount; a bit: a spot of tea.
v. spot·ted, spot·ting, spots
1. To cause a spot or spots to appear on, especially:
a. To soil with spots: Soot spotted the curtains.
b. To decorate with spots; dot.
2. To bring disgrace to; besmirch: rumors that spotted his reputation.
a. To place in a particular location; situate precisely: spotted their stores in smaller towns.
b. Football To position (the ball) determining the line of scrimmage after a play has been completed.
4. To detect or discern, especially visually; spy: spotted him on the subway.
5. To remove spots from, as in a laundry.
6. Sports To yield a favorable scoring margin to: spotted their opponents 11 points.
7. Sports To act as a spotter for (a gymnast, for example).
8. Informal To lend: Can you spot me $25 until payday?
1. To become marked with spots: These dishes spot easily.
2. To cause a discoloration or make a stain.
3. To locate targets from the air during combat or training missions.
1. Made, paid, or delivered immediately: a spot sale.
2. Of, relating to, or being a market in which payment or delivery is immediate: the spot market in oil.
3. Involving random or selective instances or actions: a spot investigation.
4. Presented between major radio or television programs: a spot announcement.
in spots
Now and then; here and there; occasionally.
on the spot
1. Without delay; at once.
2. At the scene of action.
3. Under pressure or attention; in a pressed position.

[Middle English, from Old English.]

spot′ta·ble adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.on the spot - without delay or immediately; "we hired her on the spot"; "thought they were going to shoot us down on the spot"
2.on the spot - in a difficult situation; "that question really put him on the spot"
3.on the spot - at the place in question; there; "they were on the spot when it happened"; "it had to be decided by the man on the spot"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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(spot) noun
1. a small mark or stain (made by mud, paint etc). She was trying to remove a spot of grease from her skirt.
2. a small, round mark of a different colour from its background. His tie was blue with white spots.
3. a pimple or red mark on the skin caused by an illness etc. She had measles and was covered in spots.
4. a place or small area, especially the exact place (where something happened etc). There was a large number of detectives gathered at the spot where the body had been found.
5. a small amount. Can I borrow a spot of sugar?
verbpast tense, past participle ˈspotted
1. to catch sight of. She spotted him eventually at the very back of the crowd.
2. to recognize or pick out. No-one watching the play was able to spot the murderer.
ˈspotless adjective
very clean. a spotless kitchen.
ˈspotlessly adverb
ˈspotlessness noun
ˈspotted adjective
marked or covered with spots. Her dress was spotted with grease; a spotted tie.
ˈspotty adjective
(of people) covered with spots. a spotty face / young man.
ˈspottiness noun
spot check
an inspection made without warning, especially on items chosen at random from a group. We only found out about the flaw during a spot check on goods leaving the factory.
ˈspotlight noun
(a lamp for projecting) a circle of light that is thrown on to a small area.
verbpast tense, past participle ˈspotlit, ~ˈspotlighted
1. to light with a spotlight. The stage was spotlit.
2. to show up clearly or draw attention to. The incident spotlighted the difficulties with which we were faced.
in a spot
in trouble. His failure to return the papers on time put her in a spot.
on the spot
1. at once. She liked it so much that she bought it on the spot; (also adjective) an on-the-spot decision.
2. in the exact place referred to; in the place where one is needed. It was a good thing you were on the spot when he had his heart attack; (also adjective) tour on-the-spot reporter.
3. (especially with put) in a dangerous, difficult or embarrassing position. The interviewer's questions really put the Prime Minister on the spot.
spot on
very accurate or exactly on the target. His description of Mary was spot on!
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.