1

sprawl

verb \ ˈsprȯl \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of sprawl

intransitive verb
1 a archaic : to lie thrashing or tossing about
b : to creep or clamber awkwardly
2 : to lie or sit with arms and legs spread out
3 : to spread or develop irregularly or without restraint
  • bushes sprawling along the road
  • sprawling suburbs
  • a sprawling narrative
transitive verb
: to cause to spread out carelessly or awkwardly
  • sprawled out her books on the table

Examples of sprawl in a Sentence

  1. The kids sprawled on the floor to watch TV.

  2. She tripped and went sprawling into the table.

  3. The city sprawls along the coastline.

  4. The bushes were sprawling along the road.

Recent Examples of sprawl from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sprawl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of sprawl

Middle English, from Old English sprēawlian


2

sprawl

noun

Definition of sprawl

1 : the act, posture, or condition of sprawling
2 : an irregularly spread or scattered group or mass

Recent Examples of sprawl from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sprawl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sprawl

1598



SPRAWL Defined for English Language Learners

sprawl

verb

Definition of sprawl for English Language Learners

  • : to lie or sit with your arms and legs spread wide apart

  • : to spread or develop in an uneven or uncontrolled way


sprawl

noun

Definition of sprawl for English Language Learners

  • : a group of things (such as buildings) that cover an area in an uneven and ugly way


SPRAWL Defined for Kids

1

sprawl

verb \ ˈsprȯl \

Definition of sprawl for Students

sprawled; sprawling
1 : to lie or sit with arms and legs spread out
2 : to spread out unevenly
  • The city of Madison sprawls between two lakes …
  • —Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons

2

sprawl

noun

Definition of sprawl for Students

: the act or posture of spreading out


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