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 There will be space for live events, including a stage and plenty of green space to sprawl out and have a fun night out. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "New park coming to downtown Houston," 5 Apr. 2021 There are varieties of zucchini developed for growing in containers that don’t sprawl as much as standard varieties. oregonlive, "First-time gardener has a sunny, warm spot all ready to go. Now what? Ask an expert," 27 Mar. 2021 Promised direct payments of $1,400 began to be issued this weekend, but Sperling's task will involve sums that sprawl across governments as firms such as Goldman Sachs estimate that total growth this year could be 7%. Josh Boak, Star Tribune, "Biden taps Gene Sperling to oversee COVID-19 relief package," 15 Mar. 2021 If your dog or cat prefers to sprawl, use the size guide to find their perfect fit. Stephanie Perry, Southern Living, "My Dog Finally Sleeps Through the Night Thanks to This Calming Dog Bed With Over 35,000 Ratings," 3 Mar. 2021 Every year, the Twin Cities sprawl closer to Rochester and closer still to St. Cloud. Star Tribune, "Minnesota's future conservation funding needs are clear, but answers? Not so much," 27 Feb. 2021 The planning jurisdictions, which can sprawl up to five miles and can give cities leeway to enact ordinances and adopt city plans on non-residents, would be limited to 1.5 miles. al, "Alabama legislation looks to reign in police and planning jurisdictions," 21 Feb. 2021 GateWay has six campuses that sprawl across the Valley, all housing different programs. Farah Eltohamy, The Arizona Republic, "Butchers, welders and aestheticians require in-person training. Here's how that happens with COVID-19," 9 Oct. 2020 Dine on 17th Street NW and massage chairs sprawl across turf grass. Washington Post, "Live updates: Trump incorrectly claims that coronavirus affects ‘virtually’ no young people," 22 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Homeless encampments — modern-day Hoovervilles — are steadily spreading across the vast sprawl of Los Angeles. Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times, "Photos: An unflinching look at homelessness during the pandemic," 8 Mar. 2021 Ali Akbar, a 24-year-old whose Facebook banner is a sprawl of pink-haired shoujo manga, had written a post about Rozman from his home in Bandung, Indonesia to his 3,500 followers. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "A Bird-Feed Seller Beat a Chess Master Online. Then It Got Ugly," 12 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, bears seem to get bigger, bolder, and more abundant amid the suburban sprawl. Gerry Bethge, Field & Stream, "Video: Why Did This Giant Black Bear Emerge from His Den So Early?," 17 Feb. 2021 Perhaps nowhere else in America can the unequal toll of the virus be felt more dramatically than in Los Angeles, where suburban sprawl and freeways demarcate the neighborhoods of the haves and the have-nots. New York Times, "‘We Are Forced to Live in These Conditions’: In Los Angeles, Virus Ravages Overcrowded Homes," 23 Jan. 2021 Pick any issue from white flight to racial segregation, entrenched urban poverty, or rising economic inequality, and suburban sprawl is a major, if not primary cause. cleveland, "If approved, new NOACA policy on highway interchanges will face quick test in 2021 over sprawl versus regional equity," 5 Dec. 2020 Translation: most of central Puget Sound and its sprawl. Lynda V. Mapes, Anchorage Daily News, "Killer of returning Puget Sound salmon is hidden in plain sight, scientists say," 4 Dec. 2020 Early on, many experts thought LA’s notorious sprawl might be protective. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, "In LA, ambulances circle for hours and ICUs are full. Is this what Covid-19 has in store for the rest of the country?," 15 Jan. 2021 For Belinda Faustinos, protecting the San Gabriel Mountains is important not only for wildlife and watersheds at the edges of L.A.'s suburban sprawl, but for the nearby communities that don’t have many opportunities to get outdoors. Sammy Roth Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Boiling Point: These wild lands in California and the West may soon get federal protection," 10 Dec. 2020

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

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sprawl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprawl. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for sprawl

sprawl

verb

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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