Meaning of SPREAD in English


I. ˈspred verb

( spread ; spread ; spreading ; spreads )

Etymology: Middle English spreden, from Old English sprǣdan; akin to Old High German spreiten to spread, Middle Low German & Middle Dutch spreiden, sprēden, Old Swedish sprēda; causative from the root of an intransitive verb represented by Old High German sprītan to spread, Swedish sprida; akin to Old English sprūtan to sprout — more at sprout

transitive verb


a. : to cause to open out or extend over a larger area (as by unfurling, flattening out, or pulling taut) : expand

spread a carpet

a ship with all sails spread

hammered the metal to spread it

— often used with out

spread out the newspaper

spread out the roots carefully — Emily Holt

city spread out on a level terrain — American Guide Series: N. H.

b. : to cause to reach or thrust out : stretch out : extend

spreading her arms wide to embrace him

spreads its wings for flight

a tree spreading its branches

spread his hands, palms down on the table — Gilbert Millstein


(1) : to expose (one's hand or remaining cards) for the purpose of claiming all or some of the tricks yet to be played

(2) : to lay down (a combination of cards having value under the rules of the game) : show , meld


a. : to distribute over an area : scatter , strew

spread fertilizer over the soil

buildings … are spread around this central point — American Guide Series: Texas

has its armed forces spread thinly all over the globe — Wall Street Journal

b. : to distribute over a period of time : prolong , protract

spread the cost of medical care

the work had to be spread over several weekends

specifically : to distribute (a limited amount of work) among as many workers and for as long as possible by shortening the work hours in a day or reducing the work days in a week

c. : to apply on a surface as an overlayer or cover

spread butter on bread

the varnish was spread on every exposed part — Ben Riker


(1) : to cover or overlay with

spread the floor with carpet

(2) archaic : to cover or extend over completely : overrun

the velvet down that spreads his cheek — Thomas Moore


(1) : to prepare or furnish (as a table) for dining : set

spread the board

spread the tables with the favorite dishes of their absent husbands — J.G.Frazer

(2) : to lay out or set down (as a meal) : serve

spread afternoon tea for us — Eve Langley

supper was spread — Thomas Hardy

f. : record , enter

moved … that the foregoing resolution be spread upon the minutes — Science


a. : to make more widely known : publish , disseminate

spread the news

spread a man's fame

spread the most glowing reports — T.B.Costain

b. : to cause to affect an increasing number : extend the range or incidence of

spread a disease

spread the habit of smoking — Olive Haseltine

puerperal infection could be spread in this way — Justina Hill

c. : diffuse

spread an effluvium

: emit

the hyacinth spreading its fragrance


a. : to push apart by weight or force : make wider and flatter

the locomotive spreads the rails

spread a plate … and had to be shod in the paddock — Richard Lane

b. : to separate (the lips) laterally and bring (them) close together vertically (as in the pronunciation of ee in see ) — compare round VI 1c

intransitive verb


a. : to become dispersed, distributed, or scattered : flow out readily

the rioters spread throughout the city

the odor spreads through the room

a thin paint that spreads well

b. : to become known more widely : circulate

the news spread

the new ideas were spreading — Tom Wintringham

c. : to increase in range, incidence, or influence

the disease spread through the island

the panic spread rapidly

the academy idea had begun to spread — J.P.Marquand


a. : to extend, grow, or stretch out in length or breadth : cover a greater area : expand

the city spreads over five square miles — American Guide Series: Michigan

the consequences of any big war spread in circles to infinity — Dixon Wecter

the shadow spread across her face — Maude Hutchins

b. : to extend tendrils, shoots, or new growth : unfold

a vine remarkable for its tendency not to spread and ramble — Willa Cather

c. : to become extended by heating, drawing, or compressing

d. : to project oneself into new activities

he spread out into other fields

3. : to move apart (as from pressure or weight) : separate

rails spreading under the great weight

the servant's mouth spread in a placating grin — T.B.Costain


disseminate , propagate , circulate , radiate , diffuse : spread , in the sense of broadcasting, publicizing, or making or becoming known widely, is without strong connotation, although it may suggest a scattered strewing

scattered broadcast over the country at government expense, the report did much to spread knowledge of the northwest coast — R.A.Billington

the taste for reading … slowly spread out toward the lonely clearings to the west — J.D.Hart

disseminate means and suggests about the same things as spread; it may connote the notion of a hoped-for useful fruition as of seed sown

the need for a cooperative agency in the iron and steel industry for collecting and disseminating statistics and information — J.W.Hill

propagate , applicable to complexes of notions rather than to specific facts or bits of information, may suggest fostering growth by making widespread and increasing the number of possible adherents

mechanical societies sprang into existence, to propagate the creed with greater zeal — Lewis Mumford

the outlandish philosophies that later sectaries were to propagate so diligently — V.L.Parrington

circulate may suggest a passing from person to person as though in a circle and thus to become widely known

this silly story that people are circulating — Thomas Hardy

the satire, circulating in manuscript copies, had a great local vogue — E.V.Lucas

radiate suggests sending out along radii from a nucleus; it is more likely to apply to matters affective than intellectual

a unity of inspiration that radiates into plot and personages alike — T.S.Eliot

the comments of Arthur Brisbane … radiated no warmth — A.W.Long

diffuse suggests to make known widely with permeation into small areas or crannies and an overall tingeing effect

the drive behind the American ideal of a universally diffused education — Perry Miller

once literacy has been generally diffused among the masses of a society, it tends to become indispensable — Helen Sullivan

- spread oneself

II. noun

( -s )


a. : the act or process of spreading : expansion , extension , diffusion

the spread of wax under a seal

the spread of the great metropolis — London Calling

the spread of the plague through the city

a gradual spread of parliamentary democracy — Bertrand Russell

b. : the extent or capability of spreading

the spread of a sail

elm … with a spread of 146 feet — American Guide Series: Connecticut


(1) : dispersion 2a

(2) : a continuous assemblage usually of points in mathematics

curves that are one-way spreads

2. : something spread out: as

a. : a surface area : expanse

the giant spread of land — A.B.Guthrie

b. West

(1) : a ranch with all its appurtenances

a cattle spread

(2) : an expanse of range

a spread of 100,000 acres

(3) : a herd of animals

winter a spread of 10,000 sheep

c. : the surface of a cut stone (as a diamond) in relation to its depth


(1) : a prominent display usually occupying more than one column and especially having pictorial illustration in a newspaper or periodical

(2) : two facing pages (as of a magazine or newspaper) printed with matter that usually runs across the fold (as a single advertisement or picture or part of an article to be read as a single page) ; also : the matter occupying these two facing pages

e. : spreadhead


(1) : laydown

(2) : an intentional exposure (as for the purpose of claiming tricks) of a player's entire hand

(3) : a combination of cards in rummy that can be or is melded : set

(4) : the act of melding such a combination

3. : something spread on or over a surface: as

a. : a food (as butter, jam, jelly, fruit or peanut butter, or deviled meat) used or made for use to spread on bread or crackers

cheese spread

b. : a usually sumptuous meal : feast , banquet

a gigantic spread in honor of the visiting prince — Robert Shaplen

c. : a plain or decorative cloth used as a cover for a table or a bed

4. : the distance between two points : gap , divergence

the wide spread between theory and fact


a. : the distance between the forelegs of certain quadrupeds (as dogs)

b. : distance from center to center (as of the cylinders of a duplex pump) in machinery

c. : the distance between gage lines at the heel or toe of a railroad frog

d. : span


(1) : the difference between what the producer is paid for a product and what the consumer pays for it

(2) : the difference between the highest and lowest price of a product for a given period

(3) : straddle


(1) : an option in a put and call in which the put price is different from the call price so that no profit is made unless the price falls or rises below or above the put or call price respectively by more than enough to cover the cost of the option

(2) : an arbitrage transaction operated by buying and selling simultaneously in two separate markets (as Chicago and New York) when there is an abnormal difference in price between the two markets — see backspread

(3) : the difference between bid and asked prices

(4) : the difference between any two prices for similar articles

the spread between the list price and the market price of an article

g. : deviation f

5. : something that spreads or fans out: as

a. : a salvo of torpedoes fired just ahead, at, and just abaft the target to ensure a hit

b. : spread formation

c. : a shot in billiards in which the cue ball is made to rebound from the object ball at a considerable angle to its original course

III. adjective

Etymology: from past participle of spread (I)

1. : widely extended : expanded

2. : extending across two or more columns of a newspaper or periodical

a two-page spread advertisement

3. : having insufficient depth so that its luster is below standard — used of a gem

IV. noun

: point spread herein

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