spread

verb
\ ˈspred How to pronounce spread (audio) \
spread; spreading

Definition of spread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to open or expand over a larger area spread out the map
b : to stretch out : extend spread its wings for flight
2a : 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
3a : 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

1a : 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

spread

noun

Definition of spread (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spread

Verb

spreadability \ ˌspre-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce spreadability (audio) \ noun
spreadable \ ˈspre-​də-​bəl How to pronounce spreadable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for spread

Synonyms: Verb

broadcast, circulate, disseminate, propagate

Synonyms: Noun

bedcover (also bedcovering), bedspread, counterpane, coverlet, hap [dialect]

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Measles has spread to 695 people and 22 states so far in 2019, federal health officials said this week. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "‘They Have to Get the Shots’," 26 Apr. 2019 The trouble can range from falsehoods spread on social media, to lax laws, to tailoring messages for a wide range of audiences. Ryan Blethen, The Seattle Times, "How do you persuade people to vaccinate? Clark County measles outbreak highlights the difficulties," 13 Apr. 2019 White supremacist groups have ramped up their use of propaganda to spread racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic messages, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League. Joseph De Avila, WSJ, "Hateful Propaganda From White Supremacists Spreads," 5 Mar. 2019 Over the summer, the students hit the road, visiting 80 communities in 24 states to help register young voters and spread their message about gun violence. Kelli Kennedy, The Seattle Times, "Parkland shooting survivors win Children’s Peace Prize," 20 Nov. 2018 The Reputation singer took to her social media platform of choice, Instagram Story, to spread the message. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Watch Taylor Swift Make One Last Plea to Get You to Vote," 6 Nov. 2018 The counters are solid white to reflect the light streaming through the windows, and the kitchen features a modern backsplash that spreads to the shower and bathroom, ending at the bedroom. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Rare Airstream Trailer Was Transformed Into the Cutest Tiny Home," 28 Mar. 2019 The fire on the Grimaldi Grande America started in a container on the vessel’s deck, according to the company, and spread quickly to vehicles on board, forcing the crew to flee in a single lifeboat. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Ship Operators Raise Alarms Over String of Vessel Fires," 24 Mar. 2019 As the Moravian communities spread around the world, the sunrise service came with them, and soon Protestant churches celebrated it as well. Morin Bishop, Woman's Day, "What’s an Easter Sunrise Service? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 22 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The spread of salmonella can also occur when people don’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, "Everything You Need to Know About Salmonella," 2 May 2019 Some school districts in the U.S. are booting unvaccinated students from campuses where infectious-disease cases have been confirmed, as the spread of measles accelerates in some states. Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, "As Measles Spreads, Schools Turn Away Unvaccinated Students," 13 Apr. 2019 Future Log: This four-page spread is a year-at-a-glance calendar with future events, goals, and long-term tasks. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "What Is a Bullet Journal? Everything You Need to Know Before You BuJo," 30 Jan. 2019 Currently, the process of designing, testing, and manufacturing a vaccine to prevent the spread of a new pathogen takes years. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 In rural environments, the spread of resistant species might be slow. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 The bottom line is that the alarming spread of STDs is a public health crisis reaching critical mass, and must be addressed on both a micro and macro level for real change. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "STD Rates Have Hit an All-Time High in the U.S.—And Here’s Why," 29 Aug. 2018 The move is a response to criticism that the spread of rumors and false stories on its platform has led to people suffering physical harm in countries around the world, Dow Jones reported. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump briefed on Putin meddling before inauguration; Nunes suggests DOJ, FBI want Dems to win," 19 July 2018 Despite the spread of positive results, traps in most communities aren’t turning up repeat positive batches, Zazra said. Kathy Routliffe, chicagotribune.com, "Heat, rain, mean earlier mosquito spray operations in Wilmette, Winnetka," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spread.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of spread

Verb

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

Noun

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spread

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spread

Statistics for spread

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spread

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spread

spread

verb

English Language Learners Definition of spread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to open, arrange, or place (something) over a large area
: to place (things) over a large area
: to become larger or to affect a larger area : to move into more places

spread

noun

English Language Learners Definition of spread (Entry 2 of 2)

: growth or increase that causes something to cover a larger area, affect a larger number of people, etc.
: a soft food that is spread on bread, crackers, etc.
: the total distance between the two outer edges of something

spread

verb
\ ˈspred How to pronounce spread (audio) \
spread; spreading

Kids Definition of spread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to stretch out : extend I spread my arms wide.
2 : to pass or cause to pass from person to person The news spread rapidly. Flies can spread disease.
3 : to open or arrange over a larger area The captain spread out a map.
4 : to increase in size or occurrence The fire keeps spreading. Cell phone use spread quickly.
5 : to scatter or be scattered spread fertilizer
6 : to give out over a period of time or among a group The boss spread work to make it last.
7 : to put or have a layer of on a surface He spread butter on bread.
8 : to cover something with Mom spread a cloth on the table.
9 : to stretch or move apart I spread my fingers open.
10 : to prepare for a meal : set The table was spread for dinner.

spread

noun

Kids Definition of spread (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or process of increasing in size, amount, or occurrence the spread of education
2 : the distance between two points that are farthest to each side the spread of a bird's wings
3 : a noticeable display in a magazine or newspaper
4 : a food to be put over the surface of bread or crackers cheese spread
5 : a very fine meal : feast
6 : a cloth cover for a table or bed

spread

noun

Legal Definition of spread

1a : 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)
2a : 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on spread

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spread

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spread

Spanish Central: Translation of spread

Nglish: Translation of spread for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spread for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spread

What made you want to look up spread? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!