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

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Other Words from distribute

distributee \ dis-​ˌtri-​byü-​ˈtē How to pronounce distribute (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 No one tells the rich how to distribute their wealth. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why is it so hard for Black-led nonprofits to get funding?," 20 Feb. 2021 Fifteen years ago, some of the same countries couldn’t decide how to distribute blue whiting, and that had devastating consequences. Regin Winther Poulsen, The Atlantic, "The Rules for Dividing the Ocean’s Riches Are Breaking," 13 Feb. 2021 But several members told the Globe it was not charged with offering recommendations on how to distribute the doses. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Baker built a reputation as a managerial expert. The sluggish vaccine rollout is testing it," 8 Feb. 2021 The shots are free of charge, but the federal government has left it up to state officials to decide how to distribute them. Los Angeles Times, "U.S. vaccination campaign runs far behind schedule," 5 Jan. 2021 In mid-December, before a key vote by an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a public debate flared up over what might well be the most momentous policy decision of 2021: how to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine. New York Times, "People Are Dying. Who Do We Save First With the Vaccine?," 24 Dec. 2020 Each state will have the final say on how to distribute the vaccine, but the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that frontline health care workers and nursing homes get the vaccine first. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine Gets FDA Emergency Approval One Week After Pfizer’s," 23 Dec. 2020 Minnesota's vaccine advisory group will meet next week and will plan the week of Jan. 18 to announce specific guidance on how to distribute vaccine equitably to this next priority group. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, "COVID-19 restrictions still needed amid pandemic progress in Minnesota," 21 Dec. 2020 Race and ethnicity have reportedly been at the forefront of discussions on how to distribute the coronavirus vaccine most effectively. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Doctors suggest CDC should deprioritize elderly for coronavirus vaccine: They're 'whiter' and we should 'level the playing field'," 18 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for distribute

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for distribute

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Distribute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distribute. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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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