Meaning of DISTRIBUTION in English

I. ˌdistrəˈbyüshən noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English distribucioun, from Latin distribution-, distributio, from distributus + -ion-, -io -ion


a. : the act or process of distributing or the condition of being distributed : apportionment , allotment

the distribution of money among creditors

the distribution of the cards to the players

a twice yearly distribution of the profits among the stockholders

b. : the process of apportionment by which the value of a product is divided and imputed to the various factors of production as payment for their use

c. : the apportionment in a student's program (as required in some American universities) of a certain number of courses to widely different departments or fields of learning for breadth of training — compare concentration 1d

d. : the apportionment by a court of the personal property of an intestate or its proceeds among those entitled to it according to the statutes of distribution


a. : a spreading out or scattering over an area or throughout a space

the distribution of the seed over the field

the distribution of the oil throughout the engine parts

b. : the position, placement, or arrangement (as of a mass or the members of a group) over an area or throughout a space or unit of time : the frequency of occurrence : arrangement

the distribution of iron ore in So. America

distribution of eclipses over a thousand years

the distribution of the stars

the distribution of population

the distribution of the nation's wealth

c. : the natural geographic range of a kind of organism (as a species) or category of organisms (as an order) ; sometimes : the range of such a kind or category in geologic time

d. : the occurrence of a linguistic item in terms of context or geography

the distribution of the allophones of t in English

e. : the disposition or arrangement in rational groups or classes : classification

the accurate distribution of several rare zoological specimens

f. : delivery or conveyance (as of newspapers or goods) to the members of a group

the distribution of telephone directories to customers

in charge of company sales and distribution


a. : something distributed

supported his family only with the help of charitable distributions

b. : an array in statistics of the instances of a variable arranged by classes according to their value

the distribution showed the heights of all the men in the regiment given at one-inch intervals

c. : probability density function

4. : the status of a term in logic with respect to its being distributed or undistributed

5. : a device, mechanism, or system by which something is distributed (as from a main source): as

a. : the operations regulating the passage of the working fluid (as steam) through an engine cylinder including admission, cutoff, release, exhaust, and compression

b. : the pattern of branching and termination of a nerve, artery, or other ramifying structure

c. : the part of an electric supply system between bulk power sources (as generating stations or transformation stations tapped from transmission lines) and the consumers' service switches

6. : the marketing or merchandising of commodities

the mail-order distribution of books

keeping track of all distribution costs of a manufactured article for a year

7. : the manner in which the suits in a pack of playing cards are divided in one player's hand or in which one suit is divided among the hands of all the players

a hand with 4-3-3-3 distribution contains four cards in one suit and three cards in each of the other suits

II. noun

1. : frequency distribution

2. : probability function

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.