dis·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌdi-strə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce distribution (audio) \

Definition of distribution

1a : the act or process of distributing the distribution of leaflets profit distribution the distribution of weight
b law : the act or process of apportioning by a court the personal property of an intestate
2a : the position, arrangement, or frequency of occurrence (as of the members of a group) over an area or throughout a space or unit of time the distribution of the country's population
b biology : the natural geographic range of an organism
3a : something distributed charitable distributions : such as
(1) : a sum of money withdrawn from a fund (such as a retirement fund) and given to the beneficiary (see beneficiary sense 2b) or holder of the fund
b mathematics
4 anatomy : the pattern of branching and termination (see termination sense 4) of a ramifying structure (such as a nerve)
5 business : the marketing or merchandising of commodities keeping track of distribution costs

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Other Words from distribution

distributional \ ˌdi-​strə-​ˈbyü-​shnəl How to pronounce distribution (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of distribution in a Sentence

The group collects food and clothing for distribution to needy families. The distribution of paychecks will happen every other Friday. The university does not permit distribution of leaflets on campus. She was responsible for product distribution. The company handles the distribution of goods to stores nationwide. He complained that the distribution of work was unfair. He studies the distributions of wildcats in North America. The new design provides better weight distribution.
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Recent Examples on the Web There are about 210,000 people in San Francisco eligible for the vaccine under the first tier of California’s vaccine-distribution system. Michael Williams, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco could run out of coronavirus vaccines on Thursday," 19 Jan. 2021 Surgo’s index analyzes vaccine distribution rates and scores states on COVID-19 community vulnerability using socioeconomic, health and household income data. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "Amid access hurdles, grassroots efforts underway to get COVID-19 vaccine to at-risk people of color," 18 Jan. 2021 On a Monday afternoon, the staff organized a food distribution line so the kids could still get their free meals. Sandra Upson, Wired, "Covid, Schools, and the High-Stakes Experiment No One Wanted," 18 Jan. 2021 Facing mounting criticism about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution program, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the federal government has bungled the entire process. Steve Bittenbender, Washington Examiner, "Cuomo deflects blame for slow vaccine rollout, says federal government not doing its part," 18 Jan. 2021 A few years later, the company introduced a separate Podcasts app that quickly became the leading distribution platform for the medium. Natalie Jarvey, Billboard, "Apple Mulls Podcast Subscription Push Amid Spotify's Land Grab," 18 Jan. 2021 Those grim numbers come as the nation's vaccine distribution program is becoming increasingly chaotic, and a new, more contagious strain of the virus threatens to fuel yet another surge of cases. NBC News, "Meet the Press - January 17, 2021," 17 Jan. 2021 Critics contend the change lets water utilities take more time to replace lead or lead-soldered pipes in their distribution systems, an effort intended to reduce harmful levels of lead in drinking water. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Here are the Trump environmental rule changes that Biden might target," 17 Jan. 2021 His team will be tested, though, by the tumult at home: a virus that is killing more than 4,000 people a day, a sluggish vaccination distribution program, a worsening economy and contention over the upcoming second impeachment trial for Trump. Jonathan Lemire, Anchorage Daily News, "After Trump, Biden aims to reshape the presidency itself," 17 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distribution.' 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 distribution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for distribution

Time Traveler

The first known use of distribution was in the 14th century

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Statistics for distribution

Last Updated

24 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Distribution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distribution. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for distribution


How to pronounce distribution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of distribution

: the act of giving or delivering something to people
: the act of delivering something to a store or business
: the way that something is divided or spread out


dis·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌdi-strə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce distribution (audio) \

Kids Definition of distribution

1 : the act of giving out or delivering to
2 : the way things are divided or spread out She studies the distribution of wildcats in the area.
3 : something given out or delivered to or divided among


dis·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌdis-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce distribution (audio) \

Medical Definition of distribution

: the pattern of branching and termination of a ramifying anatomical structure (as a nerve or artery)

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dis·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌdis-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce distribution (audio) \

Legal Definition of distribution

1 : the act or process of distributing: as
a : the apportionment by a court of the property and especially personal property of an intestate among those entitled to it according to statute — compare descent, devise

Note: The laws dealing with intestate succession are often called laws of descent and distribution.

b : the payment or transfer to a beneficiary of interest to which he or she is entitled under a trust
c : the transfer by a corporation or mutual fund of money or property to a shareholder in his or her capacity as a shareholder
d : the initial offering to the public of a security by a corporation
e : the delivery of a controlled substance
2 : something distributed

Other Words from distribution

distributive \ di-​ˈstri-​byu̇-​tiv How to pronounce distribution (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on distribution

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