sprawl

verb
\ ˈsprȯl How to pronounce sprawl (audio) \
sprawled; sprawling; sprawls

Definition of sprawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to lie or sit with arms and legs spread out
2 : to spread or develop irregularly or without restraint bushes sprawling along the road sprawling suburbs a sprawling narrative
3a : to creep or clamber awkwardly
b archaic : to lie thrashing or tossing about

transitive verb

: to cause to spread out carelessly or awkwardly sprawled out her books on the table

sprawl

noun

Definition of sprawl (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Examples of sprawl in a Sentence

Verb The kids sprawled on the floor to watch TV. She tripped and went sprawling into the table. The city sprawls along the coastline. The bushes were sprawling along the road.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the glaring dangler offends my eye more than a Hummer with no parking placard sprawled across two handicapped spaces. June Casagrande, Burbank Leader, "A Word, Please: Offended by danglers like this one, simple solutions occur to her," 12 Sep. 2019 Sheeran’s 2017 run sprawled across arenas in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, moving at a blistering pace with 111 shows before the year’s end but kept tickets relatively affordable, averaging $83.50. Eric Frankenberg, Billboard, "Ed Sheeran's Record-Breaking Divide Tour Posts Final Numbers: 255 Shows, $776.2 Million Grossed," 27 Aug. 2019 Level land that sprawls across more than an acre creates an idyllic setting for an extraordinary home nestled along an exclusive Alamo cul-de-sac. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: This classic, lovingly crafted home built by Branagh blends formality with all the comforts you desire," 21 Aug. 2019 Reds baseball trivia sprawls across nine galleries with 100 display cases. Katherine Rodeghier, chicagotribune.com, "From scandals to milestones, an expanded museum and tours celebrate 150 years of baseball in Cincinnati," 12 June 2019 The Chicago Tribune reports that the sprawling eatery will sit on the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Erie Street, in the former location of a Crate & Barrel store. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Take a Look at the Massive New Starbucks Reserve Roastery Coming to Chicago," 17 Sep. 2019 The former West Ham stopper also pulled out a fabulous stop to deny Dries Mertens, springing to his left to connect with a sprawling hand to tip the ball over the bar. SI.com, "Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Reds Start Champions League Defence With Defeat," 17 Sep. 2019 The stunning estate offers a contemporary and casual feel with amenities that include a wine vault, game room, outdoor loggia, pool and spa surrounded by a sprawling backyard. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Stunning Beverly Hills-style Spanish villa among Houston's most expensive homes sold in August," 13 Sep. 2019 Larceny in Lucite heels, Hustlers is a serious, sprawling crime epic that just so happens to be set at the club rather than Queens mobsters' backrooms of power. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch (and Skip) This Weekend on Netflix and in Theaters," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While Phoenix is known for its sprawl, Baltimore is known for tight-knit neighborhoods. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "Diamondbacks' Adam Jones' impact in Baltimore endures ahead of reunion with Orioles," 15 July 2019 Friday: Plans to make exurban sprawl more walkable. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "California trumpets its climate leadership. But wildfires and flying could stymie its goals," 16 Sep. 2019 Below the summit sprawl 17 small glaciers, bellwethers of global warming and a crucial water source for tens of thousands of people living at lower elevations. Tim Appenzeller, Science | AAAS, "Global warming has made iconic Andean peak unrecognizable," 11 Sep. 2019 This option might discourage an increase in housing sprawl with AVs and reduce the number of people using AVs to get downtown. Constantine Samaras, The Conversation, "Bargain-hunting robocars could spell the end for downtown parking – cities need to plan ahead now," 23 Aug. 2019 Granted, Marvel’s future looks robust, but at some point sprawl turns to chaos—or at least fatigue. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Spider-Man Swings Back to Sony—Unraveling the Universe," 22 Aug. 2019 Suburban sprawl tilted towards cheap land and inexorably closed in on military bases. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The F-35 Could Make Some Neighborhoods in the U.S. Unliveable," 7 Aug. 2019 In other places, the show’s sprawl leads to the unfortunate sense that some of its characters are only their crimes, something that was never true in earlier seasons. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Orange Is the New Black," 27 July 2019 Eventually it was dismantled and replaced by bus lines and cars, making sprawl the norm. National Geographic, "These five maps reveal how transit and geography can shape a city," 27 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of sprawl

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3b

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for sprawl

Verb

Middle English, from Old English sprēawlian

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Statistics for sprawl

Last Updated

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for sprawl

The first known use of sprawl was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sprawl

sprawl

verb
How to pronounce sprawl (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sprawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to lie or sit with your arms and legs spread wide apart
: to spread or develop in an uneven or uncontrolled way

sprawl

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sprawl (Entry 2 of 2)

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

sprawl

verb
\ ˈsprȯl How to pronounce sprawl (audio) \
sprawled; sprawling

Kids Definition of sprawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

sprawl

noun

Kids Definition of sprawl (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or posture of spreading out

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More from Merriam-Webster on sprawl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sprawl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sprawl

Spanish Central: Translation of sprawl

Nglish: Translation of sprawl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sprawl for Arabic Speakers

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