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(1) : a sum of money withdrawn from a fund (such as a retirement fund) and given to the beneficiary (see beneficiary sense 2b) or holder of the fund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

In the warehouses and distribution centers, as with the drivers, every movement is monitored. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Amazon Is a Logistical Disaster," 11 Sep. 2019 The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the incident happened at a Coca-Cola distribution center. NBC News, "Florida police investigating incident with 'multiple stabbing victims'," 11 Sep. 2019 By July, Fred's had just 80 stores and 166 drugstores, mostly around its distribution center in Dublin, Georgia, according to a release. Sarah Min, CBS News, "Fred's to close all remaining stores after declaring bankruptcy," 9 Sep. 2019 In 1964, George Grier, then county administrator, was traveling to New York to negotiate with Bennett Cerf to bring a Random House distribution center just outside of Westminster. Kevin Dayhoff, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Dayhoff: Westminster had electricity, and a yellow light, in 1964 but much has changed since," 7 Sep. 2019 Crews began clearing streets and setting up aid distribution centers. Washington Post, "Aid effort picks up momentum as some Bahamians seek way out," 6 Sep. 2019 The concern about tropical storm winds overnight and early Wednesday forced a decision to keep the tractor trailers that bring the papers to distribution centers — and the carriers who bring them to homes — off the roads. John Cutter, orlandosentinel.com, "Hurricane Dorian stayed off coast, so where is my Orlando Sentinel?," 4 Sep. 2019 Bostwick Design Partnership and Ubiquitous Design — Woodland Branch (renovation and addition, plus a central distribution center). Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Public Library picks design teams for first 5 projects in $100 million plan to improve 27 branches," 29 Aug. 2019 Lidl, the German discount grocer that’s growing in Maryland, will begin hiring more than 200 people next month for its regional headquarters and distribution center in Perryville. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "Lidl kicks off hiring for Perryville warehouse and regional headquarters," 26 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for distribution

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for distribution

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 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 distributive (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on distribution

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readily or continually undergoing change

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