distribute

verb
dis·​trib·​ute | \ di-ˈstri-byüt also -byət, British also ˈdis-tri-ˌbyüt \
distributed; distributing

Definition of distribute 

transitive verb

1 : to divide among several or many : apportion distribute expenses distributes toys to needy children
2a : to spread out so as to cover something : scatter evenly distribute the seeds
b : to give out or deliver especially to members of a group distribute newspapers distribute leaflets distribute a TV show to local stations
c : to place or position so as to be properly apportioned over or throughout an area 200 pounds distributed on a 6-foot frame distribute the frosting around the top and sides of the cake
d logic : 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."
3a : to divide or separate especially into kinds distributing specimens into their proper classes
b : to return the units of (something, such as typeset matter) to storage
4 mathematics : to use in or as an operation so as to be mathematically distributive (see distributive sense 3a) Addition is not distributed over multiplication.

intransitive verb

mathematics : to be mathematically distributive multiplication distributes over addition

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Other Words from distribute

distributee \ dis-​ˌtri-​byü-​ˈtē \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of distribute in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Apparently Insomniac retained the rights to distribute on Steam instead of being locked to the Windows 10 Store. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Mythological Assassin's Creed monsters, Prima Games plans its last strategy guide," 9 Nov. 2018 Then in April, the Wisconsin legislature passed a huge school-safety grant, and the state Department of Justice was told to distribute that money quickly. Lara Sorokanich, Popular Mechanics, "The Popular Mechanics Guide to Safer Schools," 1 Aug. 2018 All are charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs, and some are charged individually with possessing firearms, or specific sales of drugs. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "7 charged in heroin wholesaling indictment headed by alleged Milwaukee ringleader 'Joe Millionaire'," 3 July 2018 The amount, which is given to United Way Central Carolina to distribute to local agencies, has varied over the years, but peaked in 2010 to almost a million dollars. Rachel Jones, charlotteobserver, "Mecklenburg charities lost federal funding they received for decades. What now?," 22 June 2018 Led by the Gargoyle King, the gang distributes Fizzle Rocks for the man in black. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Comprehensive List of All of Hiram Lodge's Schemes on "Riverdale"," 13 Dec. 2018 The company distributed the affected four-ounce bottles nationwide in May and June. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Check If Your Children’s Advil Was Recalled," 28 Aug. 2018 Alongside SaveMoneySaveLife, Mensa distributed numerous brands of shoes to community members from his Anti-Bait Truck, including Puma, Adidas, Nike, and Converse, according to Pitchfork. Caitlin Wolper, Teen Vogue, "Vic Mensa Gave Away 10,000 Shoes During an Anti-Bait Truck Event in Chicago," 28 Aug. 2018 In addition, the agency has advised retailers not to serve or sell precut melon products distributed by Caito Foods Distribution, Gordon Food Service or SpartanNash Distribution. Debra Goldschmidt, CNN, "FDA warns consumers in 10 more states not to eat cut melon due to salmonella," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distribute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of distribute

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for distribute

Middle English, from Latin distributus, past participle of distribuere, from dis- + tribuere to allot — more at tribute

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Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distribute

The first known use of distribute was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for distribute

distribute

verb

English Language Learners Definition of distribute

: to give or deliver (something) to people

: to deliver (something) to a store or business

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

distribute

verb
dis·​trib·​ute | \ di-ˈstri-ˌbyüt, -byət\
distributed; distributing

Kids Definition of distribute

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

distribute

transitive verb
dis·​trib·​ute | \ di-ˈstri-byüt \
distributed; distributing

Legal Definition of distribute 

1 : to divide among several or many : apportion
2 : to give out or deliver especially to members of a group — see also dividend

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Comments on distribute

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