\ 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



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


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

Synonyms for spread

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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 This $124 million residential and commercial project, also called The Exchange, is spread over the high-profile corner of 300 East and 400 South, and is expected to wrap up in 2021. The Salt Lake Tribune, "It’s high time for Salt Lake City. Here’s how the skyline will rise in 2021.," 17 Jan. 2021 On many of these channels, there is frequent praise of mass killers, tactical instructions and vile and disturbing radicalizing content being spread rapidly. Sara Sidner And Mallory Simon, CNN, "Heading 'into a buzzsaw': Why extremism experts fear the Capitol attack is just the beginning," 16 Jan. 2021 The nominations announced Saturday are spread among five horses and all are trained by Bob Baffert, who was named as one the finalists for trainer of the year. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Southern California-based horses rack up eight Eclipse Award nominations," 16 Jan. 2021 DiCicco said that the DeJohn Community Center might be such a location where attendees can be properly spread, but that the legislation did not name a specific alternate site. cleveland, "Mayfield Heights makes plans for 2021 road resurfacing, sidewalk replacement," 16 Jan. 2021 Sarkisian said things were pretty spread out early in the fall with Smith, Waddle and John Metchie getting fairly equal catch counts. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Sarkisian gives insight into DeVonta Smith-Waddle dynamic, recruiting against Saban," 15 Jan. 2021 The clichés are almost bountiful enough to be evenly spread among the (mostly) prominent NFL players who could be spending a final weekend with their current clubs in the upcoming divisional playoff round. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "2020 NFL divisional playoffs: 22 players who may play final game with current team," 15 Jan. 2021 The 2019 festival was spread over five days and featured roughly 300 bands on more than 20 stages from Woldenberg Park to Bourbon Street to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Will Coviello, NOLA.com, "French Quarter Festival plans to hold fall event Sept. 3 to Oct. 3," 14 Jan. 2021 Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacteria commonly found in freshwater that can be spread when aerosolized by cooling systems. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Former Michigan governor charged with neglect of duty in Flint water crisis," 13 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Losing probably isn't, but this spread is too wide. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "Tight games this weekend, with one upset projected," 15 Jan. 2021 Holding the vote in person, for which Amazon advocated, would have required the board to send staff into a region where the spread of the novel coronavirus is particularly high. Washington Post, "Amazon to face first U.S. unionization vote in seven years next month," 15 Jan. 2021 The spread of Covid-19 in ICE detention centers has also been rampant. Nishant Uppal, STAT, "ICE must provide Covid-19 vaccines to all detained migrants," 12 Jan. 2021 Lawmakers are coming back to the Capitol at a moment when spread of the virus has never been worse in Texas. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Back in class, late-night shots, library hero: News from around our 50 states," 12 Jan. 2021 More:Versatile onion and pear spread is an easy and pleasing appetizer When prepping the vegetables, cut them to a uniform size for even cooking. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Quick and easy roasting brings out the flavor in vegetables," 10 Jan. 2021 By nearly every major metric, the spread of the virus is profoundly more dire in Southern California. New York Times, "‘Our New York Moment’: Southern California Reels as Virus Surges," 9 Jan. 2021 After the summer surge, spread was relatively light in the Dalton area until October when cases started to soar. Jeremy Redmon, ajc, "Trump rally divides N. Georgia community hit hard by COVID-19," 1 Jan. 2021 The changes that have been made to help prevent the spread of the virus at the car wash are thorough, and D’Eri said many of them should be continued beyond the pandemic. Scott Luxor, sun-sentinel.com, "Employing autistic staff, Rising Tide Car Wash plans third location," 30 Dec. 2020

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


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


1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spread


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spread

Time Traveler for spread

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for spread

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spread.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spread. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spread


How to pronounce spread (audio)

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



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


\ 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.



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



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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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