verb dis·trib·ute \di-ˈstri-byüt also -byət British also ˈdis-tri-ˌbyüt\

: to give or deliver (something) to people

: to deliver (something) to a store or business

: to divide (something) among the members of a group


Full Definition of DISTRIBUTE

transitive verb
:  to divide among several or many :  apportion <distribute expenses>
a :  to spread out so as to cover something :  scatter
b :  to give out or deliver especially to members of a group <distribute newspapers> <distribute leaflets>
c :  to place or position so as to be properly apportioned over or throughout an area <200 pounds distributed on a 6-foot frame>
d :  to use (a term) so as to convey information about every member of the class named <the proposition “all men are mortal” distributes “man” but not “mortal”>
a :  to divide or separate especially into kinds
b :  to return the units of (as typeset matter) to storage
:  to use in or as an operation so as to be mathematically distributive
intransitive verb
:  to be mathematically distributive <multiplication distributes over addition>
dis·trib·u·tee \dis-ˌtri-byü-ˈtē\ noun

Examples of DISTRIBUTE

  1. <distribute the assignments according to seniority>
  2. <committed to distributing the school's limited scholarship money so that it benefits more students>


Middle English, from Latin distributus, past participle of distribuere, from dis- + tribuere to allot — more at tribute
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of DISTRIBUTE

distribute, dispense, divide, deal, dole out mean to give out, usually in shares, to each member of a group. distribute implies an apportioning by separation of something into parts, units, or amounts <distributed food to the needy>. dispense suggests the giving of a carefully weighed or measured portion to each of a group according to due or need <dispensed wisdom to the students>. divide stresses the separation of a whole into parts and implies that the parts are equal <three charitable groups divided the proceeds>. deal emphasizes the allotment of something piece by piece <deal out equipment and supplies>. dole out implies a carefully measured portion of something that is often in short supply <doled out what little food there was>.
DISTRIBUTE Defined for Kids


verb dis·trib·ute \di-ˈstri-ˌbyüt, -byət\

Definition of DISTRIBUTE for Kids

:  to give out to or deliver to <They distribute paychecks on Friday.>
:  to divide among many or several <The money was distributed among the poor.>
:  to spread out so as to cover something <Make sure the paint is distributed evenly.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: distributedPrevious Word in the Dictionary: distributaryAll Words Near: distribute
July 07, 2015
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