Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

sprawl

play
verb \ˈsprȯl\

Simple Definition of sprawl

  • : to lie or sit with your arms and legs spread wide apart

  • : to spread or develop in an uneven or uncontrolled way

Full Definition of sprawl

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a archaic :  to lie thrashing or tossing aboutb :  to creep or clamber awkwardly

  3. 2 :  to lie or sit with arms and legs spread out

  4. 3 :  to spread or develop irregularly or without restraint <bushes sprawling along the road> <sprawling suburbs> <a sprawling narrative>

  5. transitive verb
  6. :  to cause to spread out carelessly or awkwardly <sprawled out her books on the table>

Examples of sprawl

  1. The kids sprawled on the floor to watch TV.

  2. She tripped and went sprawling into the table.

  3. The city sprawls along the coastline.

  4. The bushes were sprawling along the road.



Origin of sprawl

Middle English, from Old English sprēawlian


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

sprawl

noun

Simple Definition of sprawl

  • : a group of things (such as buildings) that cover an area in an uneven and ugly way

Full Definition of sprawl

  1. 1 :  the act, posture, or condition of sprawling

  2. 2 :  an irregularly spread or scattered group or mass

  3. 3 :  urban sprawl

1598

First Known Use of sprawl

1598



SPRAWL Defined for Kids

1

sprawl

play
verb \ˈsprȯl\

Definition of sprawl

sprawledsprawl·ing

  1. 1 :  to lie or sit with arms and legs spread out

  2. 2 :  to spread out unevenly <The city of Madison sprawls between two lakes … — Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons>




2

sprawl

play
noun

Definition of sprawl

  1. :  the act or posture of spreading out





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up sprawl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 100 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ