distribute

verb
dis·​trib·​ute | \ di-ˈstri-byüt How to pronounce distribute (audio) also -byət, British also ˈdis-tri-ˌbyüt How to pronounce distribute (audio) \
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 How to pronounce distributee (audio) \ 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

Getty ImagesMax Mumby/Indigo Meghan’s television film, made way back in 2011 and titled The Boys & Girls Guide To Getting Down, is reportedly set to be distributed and re-released later this year. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "One of Meghan Markle's Pre-Royal Acting Roles is Set for Re-Release," 18 Feb. 2019 But there are opportunities for bad actors to exploit the halo created by quality work of legitimate manufacturers to instead distribute and sell dangerous products that put consumers at risk. Korin Miller, SELF, "The FDA Will Finally Crack Down on Dietary Supplements—Here's What Experts Have to Say," 11 Feb. 2019 Goop signed an exclusive deal with Delta Airlines to distribute an eponymous audio show. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's Controversial Lifestyle Brand, Is Getting a Netflix Series," 4 Feb. 2019 Intel will use the technology to distribute data from Comcast’s modems around the home. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel reveals its 10nm Ice Lake Core and stacked Lakefield CPUs, and 'Project Athena' for laptops," 7 Jan. 2019 Inside Apps Software development kits—or SDKs—are common inside of apps, and Facebook's are among the most widely distributed. Sam Schechner, WSJ, "You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook.," 22 Feb. 2019 By the early 1910s, an American company that would one day become Hallmark began distributing Valentine's Day cards. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "The Not-So-Romantic History of Valentine's Day," 8 Feb. 2019 Enter Fete Home, the brainchild of Jennifer Potter and Audrey Margarite, who cut their teeth designing and distributing high-end entertaining and decorating items at Bunny Williams Home. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "Fete Home Is the Decor Brand You Need to Know Now," 28 Dec. 2018 The two-inch plush material is ideal for firm mattresses, adding a fluffy pillow-top feel to your bed, and the stitching prevents shifting and helps keep the fill well-distributed. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "7 Top-Rated Mattress Toppers, According to Textile Pros," 19 Dec. 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

15 Mar 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 How to pronounce distribute (audio) , -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 How to pronounce distribute (audio) \
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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