\ 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

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb An infected child can spread the virus to his or her parents, grandparents, soccer coach or anyone else. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 7 Jan. 2022 The agency warned that transporting deer carcasses out of the management zone can cause CWD spread to unaffected areas. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 7 Jan. 2022 Senders Pediatrics hopes to fund projects that encourage and spread kindness from one individual to another, and can be easily replicable. cleveland, 7 Jan. 2022 Each person with omicron can potentially spread the virus to as many as six or 10 people and then those people can subsequently pass it on to another six or 10 people. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 6 Jan. 2022 Past day five, most people don’t seem to carry enough virus to reliably spread it to others. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 6 Jan. 2022 Residents in nearby cities quickly joined in and within days large protests had spread to the rest of the country. Staff Writer, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Jan. 2022 No one wants to inadvertently spread a disease to people around us, including vulnerable elderly individuals or children too young to be vaccinated. Katia Hetter, CNN, 4 Jan. 2022 Though the pain will be spread among growers from west of Phoenix to the Tucson area, the worst of it will fall on Pinal County, where agriculture is critical to the economy. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 4 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Parents are flooded with anxiety, stoked by rapid Omicron spread, fuzzy guidance and bad actors in politics and at some right-wing media outlets who are exploiting the trauma. Jane Greenway Carr, CNN, 9 Jan. 2022 Researchers tracing Omicron's spread across the globe have released early data suggesting COVID-19 cases triggered by the Omicron variant seem to be less severe compared to those caused by the earlier Delta strain. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 9 Jan. 2022 The highly transmissible omicron outbreak has triggered an alarming spike in cases across the country, with some states reintroducing measures such as curfews to prevent the spread of infection. Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2022 Investors will want to know how the spread of the Omicron variant could continue to affect business. Karen Langley, WSJ, 9 Jan. 2022 Michigan restaurants and bars were also closed to indoor dining to prevent the spread of the coronavirus Nov. 17-Feb. 1. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 9 Jan. 2022 To put the rapid spread of omicron into perspective, last week accounts for roughly 6.4% of all cases ever reported in Alabama in the 664 days since the virus was first found here. Ramsey Archibald | Rarchibald@al.com, al, 8 Jan. 2022 The coronavirus continues to mutate, and its spread in much of the world is made easier by the shortage of vaccines in many developing countries. Joel Achenbach And Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Jan. 2022 The company took many of those sites offline preemptively to prevent the spread of the malware, and losing access to an online portal for a few days isn't nearly as bad as having to cough up ransomware money directly. Brian Barrett, Wired, 8 Jan. 2022

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for spread

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near spread

spray therapy



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Statistics for spread

Last Updated

10 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spread.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spread. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for spread



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

More from Merriam-Webster on spread

Nglish: Translation of spread for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spread for Arabic Speakers


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