distribute

verb
dis·​trib·​ute | \ di-ˈstri-byüt How to pronounce distribute (audio) also -byət How to pronounce distribute (audio) , British also ˈdi-stri-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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Both Canadian indie films are being distributed by Maison 4:3 and will receive theatrical releases domestically later this year. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "Toronto: Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Audience Award," 15 Sep. 2019 Directions: Cast on 40 stitches, distributed across 3 needles, for head and body. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "Felted Mummy Doll," 9 Sep. 2019 According to a 2018 article in the American Journal of Public Health, such disinformation was distributed by accounts linked to Russian influence operations seeking to amplify American discord and weaponize a public health issue. Scientific American, "How Misinformation Spreads—and Why We Trust It," 3 Sep. 2019 For first-time bus riders in elementary school and their parents, the school system distributes a handbook. Catalina Righter, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll school system inspects hundreds of buses, asks drivers to heed safety advice," 2 Sep. 2019 And species are not evenly distributed—for example, Madagascar is home to around 12,000 plant species, of which 80% are endemic (found nowhere else). Commentary, Quartz Africa, "Plants are going extinct up to 350 times faster than the historical norm," 24 Aug. 2019 Additionally at the conference, the Santa Maria Creek Greenway group distributed copies of a two-sided brochure created by San Diego County staff. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Greenway advocates plan outreach activities," 22 Aug. 2019 Then it can be distributed among the members, each one taking home a percentage. Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "The Black Axe," 19 Aug. 2019 Most of its wines sell within Hawaii, but the company distributes to 25 states and even exports to Japan. Fortune, "How Fruit Wines Are Becoming Serious Business," 17 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about distribute

Statistics for distribute

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distribute

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on distribute

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

WORD OF THE DAY

transposition of initial sounds of words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!