- to spread out, expand, or extend.
- to form with an oblique angle; make slanting; bevel.
- to make with a splay or splays.
- to disjoin; dislocate.
- to have an oblique or slanting direction.
- to spread or flare.
- Architecture. a surface that makes an oblique angle with another, as where the opening through a wall for a window or door widens from the window or door proper toward the face of the wall.
- spread out; wide and flat; turned outward.
- clumsy or awkward.
- oblique or awry.
Origin of splay
1300–50; Middle English; aphetic form of display
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for splay
Norman windows have only one splay on the internal side of the building.English Villages
P. H. Ditchfield
Like the jambs, the arch has a splay which is divided into small panels.Portuguese Architecture
Walter Crum Watson
Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of the city?Measure for Measure
The window in the east wall has its head and splay of a single stone.Romantic Ireland; volume 2/2
M.F and B. McM. Mansfield
No variation, no change; the art of it is to keep almost to the same groove, and not to make the figure broad and splay.The Hills and the Vale
- spread out; broad and flat
- turned outwards in an awkward manner
- to spread out; turn out or expand
- (tr) vet science to dislocate (a joint)
- a surface of a wall that forms an oblique angle to the main flat surfaces, esp at a doorway or window opening
C14: short for display
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for splay
"to spread out," early 14c., shortened form of desplayen (see display). Pp. adjective splayed "spread out" is attested from 1540s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper