dis·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ˌdis-trə-ˈbyü-shən \

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(1) : a sum of money withdrawn from a fund (such as a retirement fund) and given to the beneficiary (see beneficiary sense 2b) or holder of the fund

(2) : dividend sense 1a

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 \-​shnəl, -​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

Operational changes have also included reducing inventory, closing distribution centers and building new, high-end stores to help RH fight online retail competition. Maria Armental, WSJ, "RH Raises Forecast as Organizational Changes Improve Profits," 3 Dec. 2018 The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Slover Project, which will have 162 truck docks, predicted the distribution center would add more than 1,000 trips per day to and from the busy I-10 and I-60 corridors. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Your online shopping is polluting this small town," 20 Nov. 2018 Activists in Miami-Dade County have been protesting around photos of undelivered ballots stacked inside a mail distribution center. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots," 15 Nov. 2018 The shooting, which authorities said was touched off when the worker got into an argument Thursday morning, sent survivors screaming and running in all directions from the Rite Aid distribution center in northeastern Maryland. David Mcfadden And Michael Kunzelman, Fox News, "4 dead, including suspect, after Maryland warehouse shooting," 21 Sep. 2018 The property is suitable for a large scale distribution centers such as the Amazon and Rooms To Go facilities in the Katy and Brookshire areas, Wolff said. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Wolff Cos. bets on the U.S. 290 for its next development," 13 July 2018 Pullman Park includes a 150,000-square-foot Walmart, a Method soap factory, a new Whole Foods distribution center, a second greenhouse for hydroponic greens grower Gotham Greens, and a Potbelly Sandwich Shop that anchors the Gateway Retail Center. Sandra Guy, Chicago Reader, "News / Architecture / Neighborhoods Pullman to get first new residential building in nearly 50 years," 10 July 2018 Just nine months after opening, a Kroger distribution center in Florence will add 250 full-time associates. Melissa Reinert, Cincinnati.com, "Kroger invests more money, staff into NKY distribution center," 9 July 2018 Amazon also stopped work at a distribution center in Okayama Saturday, but resumed Sunday once roads were cleared, according to a spokesperson, Bloomberg reported. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Massive Floods in Japan Have Killed More Than 70 and Hurt Local Manufacturers," 8 July 2018

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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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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

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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 \

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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective

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Comments on distribution

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


living or existing for a long time

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