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(1) : a sum of money withdrawn from a fund (such as a retirement fund) and given to the beneficiary (see beneficiary sense 2b) or holder of the fund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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Movistar Plus International will handle international distribution of what rates from the get-go as one of the hottest Spanish series which will be brought onto the global market this year. John Hopewell, Variety, 5 May 2022 In April 2021, not long after it was approved for emergency use, federal authorities paused distribution of the vaccine for a safety evaluation. New York Times, 5 May 2022 Life terms for the Supreme Court has led to this uneven distribution of appointments. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 Riverbanks are corroding from thaw, changing everything from the chemistry of the groundwater to its distribution and movement. Lois Parshley, Anchorage Daily News, 3 May 2022 Novel ingredients, complex manufacturing processes, and challenges with cold chain distribution channels all drive costs up. Rachel King, Fortune, 1 May 2022 Shanghai fell short in areas such as distribution of food and medicine and provisions for the elderly and pets. Ken Moritsugu, ajc, 29 Apr. 2022 Already in Ukraine, Kenney was shuttling back and forth from Poland to assess the war and establish humanitarian distribution channels. Bill Frist, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Stop leading with profitability, and instead center as the primary benefit a more equitable distribution of wealth and shared wealth creation. Isis Dallis, Quartz, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of distribution

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

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Time Traveler for distribution

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

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Dictionary Entries Near distribution



distribution board

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Distribution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distribution. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for distribution


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)


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

More from Merriam-Webster on distribution

Nglish: Translation of distribution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distribution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about distribution


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