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 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 Eight guesthouses are sprawled around a quiet central lawn, edged by gardens filled with herbs, vegetables, and many of the 100 varieties of edible plants Terra grew this year. Chris Malloy, Condé Nast Traveler, "An Ambitious Culinary Resort Has Landed in Arizona’s High Desert," 30 Oct. 2019 Must-tries: The menu is sprawling; the eye searches out red Food Network logos to know where to begin. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Does downtown Baltimore’s new R&R Taqueria live up to the TV hype of the original?," 23 Oct. 2019 Streaming has seen hip-hop LPs mostly polarized into EP-length mini-albums or sprawling, 20-plus-track opuses, but both Baby on Baby and Kirk run a cool 13 tracks and a half-hour and change -- ideal for single-listen consumption. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Five Burning Questions: Billboard Staffers Discuss DaBaby's 'Kirk' Debut and Breakout Year," 8 Oct. 2019 Artist Alley is a sprawling, bazaar-style row of 96 separate booths offering work from artists around the world, from comics and clothing to anime characters printed on pillowcases. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "At TwitchCon, Video Games Are More Than a Hobby," 1 Oct. 2019 Among 300 or so other glaciers sprawling across Iceland, covering 11% of the land surface, it was easily ignored. The Economist, "Obituary: Okjökull was declared dead in 2014," 21 Sep. 2019 Project Athena is an ambitious, sprawling, and probably confusing Intel program to get PC makers to take laptops to the next level. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel will bless Project Athena laptops with an 'Engineered for Mobile Performance' badge," 8 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Living in the sprawl The Bay Area’s skyrocketing housing costs are pushing families into far-flung suburbs such as Tracy. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: The booming Bay ‘exurbs’ try smart growth — kind of," 20 Sep. 2019 From the threat of his shot comes a sprawl of complementary skills. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 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

16 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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