spread

1 of 2

verb

spread; spreading

transitive verb

1
a
: to open or expand over a larger area
spread out the map
b
: to stretch out : extend
spread its wings for flight
2
a
: to distribute over an area
spread fertilizer
b
: to distribute over a period or among a group
spread the work over a few weeks
c
: to apply on a surface
spread butter on bread
d(1)
: to cover or overlay something with
spread the cloth on the table
(2)
archaic : to cover completely
e(1)
: to prepare or furnish for dining : set
spread the table
(2)
: serve
spread the afternoon tea
3
a
: to make widely known
spread the news
b
: to extend the range or incidence of
spread a disease
c
: diffuse, emit
flowers spreading their fragrance
4
: to push apart by weight or force

intransitive verb

1
a
: to become dispersed, distributed, or scattered
b
: to become known or disseminated
panic spread rapidly
2
: to grow in length or breadth : expand
3
: to move apart (as from pressure or weight) : separate
spreadability noun
spreadable adjective

spread

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: the act or process of spreading
b
: extent of spreading
2
: something spread out: such as
a
: a surface area : expanse
b(1)
: a ranch or homestead especially in the western U.S.
(2)
Western US : a herd of animals
c(1)
: a prominent display in a periodical
(2)
: two facing pages (as of a newspaper) usually with matter running across the fold
also : the matter occupying these pages
3
: something spread on or over a surface: such as
a
: a food to be spread (as on bread or crackers)
a cheese spread
b
: a sumptuous meal : feast
c
: a cloth cover for a table or bed
4
: distance between two points : gap
5
: a commodities market transaction in which a participant hedges with simultaneous long and short options in different commodities or different delivery dates in the same commodity

Examples of spread in a Sentence

Verb The newspaper was spread across his lap. Her notes were spread all over the desk. Help me spread the cloth on the table. We spread fertilizer on our yard. The seeds are spread by wind, birds, and animals. The fire spread quickly through the building. The cancer has spread to her throat. The use of computer technology has spread into all fields of work. The odor spread throughout the room. The fashion quickly spread from France to England. Noun She offered crackers and a cheese spread. He uses low-fat spread on his toast. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
By Thursday morning, North Texas can expect showers spreading across the region. David Montesino, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 28 Feb. 2024 Goodman said that the mosquitoes recently spotted in the Sacramento area are not the same species pose a threat for West Nile virus, a common disease spread by mosquito bites. Hanh Truong, Sacramento Bee, 27 Feb. 2024 The Miami Herald has contacted the Florida Department of Health to ask about whether the infected children who are younger then 5 attend daycare or pre-k. Measles is a contagious disease that can spread rapidly by coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated objects and then touching your mouth. Michelle Marchante, Miami Herald, 27 Feb. 2024 His 2019 road show was an attempt to spread awareness across the diverse and often siloed workforces in US intelligence. Byron Tau, WIRED, 27 Feb. 2024 The document’s planning area covers a limited portion of the district — or 1,009 land acres and 1,454 water acres — spread across 10 planning districts. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Feb. 2024 Justice Elena Kagan said the major platforms had good reasons to reject posts inciting insurrection, endangering public health and spreading hate speech. Compiled Bydemocrat-Gazette Stafffrom Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 27 Feb. 2024 Meyers quizzed Biden about a conspiracy theory spread among some conservatives on social media that Swift and Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce are part of an elaborate plot to help Democrats win the November election. Zeke Miller, Fortune, 27 Feb. 2024 Often planted for their beautiful spring blooms, these trees spread and take over space from other native trees. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 27 Feb. 2024
Noun
The latter objective includes everything from copyright protections to preventing the spread of disinformation and deepfakes. Johanna Costigan, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 High temperatures and dry and windy conditions – all of which is expected to become a more frequent and intense problem as global temperatures rise – contributed to the spread of the flames, Abbott said, with those conditions expected to remain for at least a few days. Li Cohen, CBS News, 28 Feb. 2024 The editor of a Moscow weekly newspaper that published a spread on Navalny’s death with his smiling photo on the cover told Reuters the edition was nearly entirely confiscated. Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 27 Feb. 2024 Since then, Breslin has also advocated for her right to wear a mask and for other ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. Charlotte Phillipp, Peoplemag, 27 Feb. 2024 Adding to the recall momentum, the governor dined with friends at an exclusive Napa restaurant after urging Californians to stay home, avoid gatherings and wear masks to stop the spread of the virus. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, 27 Feb. 2024 Prices for the units will start at $550,000 for studios and max out at $4 million for a three-bedroom spread. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 26 Feb. 2024 Flammable materials had been used in the cladding of that building, which accelerated the spread of the fire. Rachel Chaundler, New York Times, 23 Feb. 2024 Needle exchange programs allow drug users to obtain clean needles and dispose of used ones, with the aim of reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman, 22 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spread.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English spreden, from Old English -sprǣdan; akin to Old High German spreiten to spread

First Known Use

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of spread was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near spread

Cite this Entry

“Spread.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spread. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

spread

1 of 2 verb
spread; spreading
1
a
: to open over a larger area
spread out a map
b
: to stretch out : extend
spread her arms wide
2
a
: to scatter over an area
spread fertilizer
b
: to give out over a period or among a group
spread the work over several weeks
c
: to put a layer of on a surface
spread butter on bread
d
: to cover something with
spread the cloth on the table
e
: to prepare for a meal : set
spread a table
3
a
: to become or cause to become widely known
spread the news
the panic spread rapidly
b
: to extend the range or occurrence of
spread a disease
4
: to stretch or move apart
spread one's fingers
spreadable adjective

spread

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: the act or process of spreading
the spread of education
b
: the extent of spreading
the spread of a bird's wings
2
: a very noticeable display in a newspaper or magazine
a two-page spread
3
a
: a food to be spread on bread or crackers
a cheese spread
b
: a very fine meal : feast
c
: a cloth cover for a table or bed
4
: distance between two points

Legal Definition

spread

noun
1
a
: the difference between any two prices for similar articles
the spread between the list price and the market price of an article
b
: the difference between the highest and lowest prices of a product or security for a given period
c
: the difference between bid and asked prices (as of a stock)
2
a
: a simultaneous put option and call option in which the put price and the call price differ so that no profit is made unless the price falls below or rises above the put or call price respectively by more than enough to cover the cost of the option
also : the difference between the put price and call price
b
: a transaction in which a participant hedges with simultaneous long and short options in different commodities or different delivery dates in the same commodity
3
: an arbitrage transaction operated by buying and selling simultaneously in two markets when there is an abnormal difference in price between the two markets
also : the difference in price
4
: the difference between the yields on investments in fixed-income securities equal in quality but with different maturity dates or with the same maturity dates but unequal quality

More from Merriam-Webster on spread

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