spread-eagle

1 of 3

verb

spread-ea·​gle ˈspred-ˌē-gəl How to pronounce spread-eagle (audio)
spread-eagled; spread-eagling ˈspred-ˌē-g(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce spread-eagle (audio)

intransitive verb

1
: to execute a spread eagle (as in skating)
2
: to stand or move with arms and legs stretched out : sprawl

transitive verb

1
: to stretch out into the position of a spread eagle
2
: to spread over

spread-eagle

2 of 3

adjective

: marked by bombast and boastful exaggeration especially of the greatness of the U.S.
spread-eagle oratory

spread eagle

3 of 3

noun

1
: a representation of an eagle with wings raised and legs extended
2
: something resembling or suggestive of a spread eagle
specifically : a skating figure executed with the skates heel to heel in a straight line

Examples of spread-eagle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Two weeks later, while taking a cab from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to the offices of ad agency Leo Burnett, Rentmeester saw a billboard with a strikingly similar image: a balletic Jordan spread-eagle, soaring toward a basketball hoop. Bypaolo Confino, Fortune, 17 June 2024 At one point, campy set pieces like massive cyborg boobs and gigantic robot legs in spread-eagle position make an appearance. Rachel Silva, ELLE Decor, 3 Aug. 2023
Noun
Later, when all the staff is hanging in their quarters together, Gabriella, one of the event planners, is sitting spread eagle and just as close to Marciano. Brian Moylan, Vulture, 1 Apr. 2024 Messing’s nonjumping elements included some entertaining step sequences, including one with a spread eagle leading to a hydroblading move in which nearly his whole body is horizontal on the ice, his face seemingly touching the ice. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Feb. 2022 Mention it all, as The Real Housewives of New York’s Bethenny Frankel once shouted while doing No. 17, the spread eagle. Louis Peitzman, Vulture, 7 Sep. 2021 There was the little boy who flung himself on the carpet, spread eagle-style; the student from Japan who became physically sick when his parents left; and several students who sobbed for hours. Dani Blum, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020 On the final point, a service return by Medvedev that sailed long, Nadal collapsed on his back, lay spread eagle for several moments and screamed into the night air. David Waldstein, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2019 Espanyol striker Raul Tamudo sneaked in behind the hosts' defence and slid his attempt past the spread eagle keeper to level things up, not only in the tie but also in the title chase, however, Los Blancos held the upper hand in the head-to-head. SI.com, 3 Feb. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spread-eagle.' 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

Adjective

from the spread eagle on the Great Seal of the U.S.

First Known Use

Verb

1826, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Adjective

1853, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spread-eagle was in 1550

Dictionary Entries Near spread-eagle

spreadboard

spread-eagle

spread eagle

Cite this Entry

“Spread-eagle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spread-eagle. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

spread-eagle

verb
spread-ea·​gle
ˈspred-ˌē-gəl
spread-eagled; spread-eagling
-ˌē-g(ə-)liŋ
: to stand or move with arms and legs spread wide

More from Merriam-Webster on spread-eagle

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