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 Every bit of New Haven sprawls before you, from West Rock to the campus of Yale University, to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge to Fair Haven Heights and the Quinnipiac River Meadows. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "Three Connecticut hikes to work off that big Thanksgiving Day meal - and the leftovers, too," 22 Nov. 2019 Despite its bloody history, the sprawling park at 51st and Wood streets remains a vital resource for its South Side neighbors, a place of optimism and pride, community activists say. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, "It was the scene of one of Chicago’s worst shootings. Today, Cornell Square Park is thriving.," 10 Oct. 2019 Riot Fest is now held crosstown in the less-sprawling Douglas Park and its presence extends well beyond September. Chris Payne, Billboard, "Riot Fest Founder Mike Petryshyn Reveals the Legendary Band Reunions He's Still Trying For: Q&A," 24 Sep. 2019 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a sprawling park in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, home to a unique array of plants—including the cactus that gives the monument its name—and animals. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Planned Border Wall May Threaten 22 Archaeological Sites in Arizona, NPS Says," 21 Sep. 2019 The lubber grasshopper is making its annual appearance across South Florida, with perhaps their largest — at least most visible — concentration in the sprawling national park. Adriana Brasileiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Monster grasshoppers swarm Everglades," 19 July 2019 The family has also built a sprawling biblical theme park in the West Bank settlement of Shilo, revered as the ancient site of the biblical tabernacle. Washington Post, "US duty free owners give millions to Israeli settlements," 1 July 2019 Well-meaning efforts by federal and state authorities have attempted to address this problem by imposing universal standards on our sprawling, decentralized system of schools from far away. Matthew Ladner, National Review, "Arizona’s Success with Charter Schools Is a Model Other States Would Be Wise to Follow," 8 Nov. 2019 Consistently, she was sprawled out in front of the net making saves. BostonGlobe.com, "“Nobody pays attention to the girls, they just focus on the boys,” said Jen Crook. “They’re very competitive in anything they do. They try to leave it on the field.”," 7 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Already, in the past two decades, large swaths of fertile agricultural land in periurban areas have been lost to the sprawl of cities. Daniel K. Gardner, The New Republic, "“What About China?” Is a Bad Response to the Climate Crisis," 20 Sep. 2019 From the building’s fifth floor, Mr. Small looked out over the suburban sprawl of Silicon Valley. Erin Griffith, New York Times, "A Unicorn Lost in the Valley, Evernote Blows Up the ‘Fail Fast’ Gospel," 28 June 2019 Orchid, rose and carnation centerpieces arranged to mimic the flower festivals of Colombia rivaled the sprawl of vibrant gowns that filled MFAH's Cullinan Hall. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Colombia-inspired Latin American Experience Weekend raises $1.675 million for Museum of Fine Arts," 4 Nov. 2019 As the opioid epidemic worsens, claiming about 130 lives a day in 2018 in the United States alone, a cadre of researchers is looking for solutions to addiction and overdoses in the sprawl of drug forums. Doug Johnson, Quartz, "Researchers are turning to Reddit drug forums to tackle the opioid crisis," 3 Nov. 2019 To channel the all-encompassing sprawl of the Internet, director Seema Sueko collaborated with scenic designer Paige Hathaway and projection designer Shawn Duan to give the show a layered visual aesthetic. Washington Post, "15 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 21 Oct. 2019 But the very sound of them gives the flavor of the patchwork of small-town suburbs that sit cheek to cheek in the sprawl. Los Angeles Times, "‘Lodge 49’ is too good for this world. Which is exactly why AMC should keep it around," 15 Oct. 2019 Central Asia, a midpoint in the great sprawl of the Eurasian continent. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Yurts, Eagle Hunters and Rugged Solitude in Kyrgyzstan," 12 Oct. 2019 Even within the concrete sprawl of Seoul, artificial mountains have risen to decorate parks, restaurants, and shopping malls. Wired, "The Spellbinding Allure of Seoul's Fake Urban Mountains," 9 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for sprawl

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sprawl

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sprawl.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprawl?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=s&file=sprawl01. Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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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