verb \ˈsprl\

: 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

intransitive verb
a archaic :  to lie thrashing or tossing about
b :  to creep or clamber awkwardly
:  to lie or sit with arms and legs spread out
:  to spread or develop irregularly or without restraint <bushes sprawling along the road> <sprawling suburbs> <a sprawling narrative>
transitive verb
:  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



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

Full Definition of SPRAWL

:  the act, posture, or condition of sprawling
:  an irregularly spread or scattered group or mass

First Known Use of SPRAWL



Next Word in the Dictionary: sprawler
Previous Word in the Dictionary: sprauchle
All Words Near: sprawl

Seen & Heard

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