- to be stretched or spread out in an unnatural or ungraceful manner: The puppy's legs sprawled in all directions.
- to sit or lie in a relaxed position with the limbs spread out carelessly or ungracefully: He sprawled across the bed.
- to spread out, extend, or be distributed in a straggling or irregular manner, as vines, buildings, handwriting, etc.
- to crawl awkwardly with the aid of all the limbs; scramble.
- to stretch out (the limbs) as in sprawling.
- to spread out or distribute in a straggling manner.
- the act or an instance of sprawling; a sprawling posture.
- a straggling array of something.
Origin of sprawl
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sprawled
Sprawled on chaise lounges with their knees high in the air and their legs spread wide.Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’
January 7, 2015
Moments later, the unarmed Brown was sprawled dead in the street, having been shot at least six times.From Ferguson Cop Embroiled in a Brutality Suit to City Councilwoman
August 20, 2014
The other sprawled over two countries and included dinner at Versailles.Which of Kim Kardashian’s Weddings Was More Ridiculous?
May 27, 2014
But McKenna was not going to leave Glover sprawled unattended in the street.Why Was My Son Killed in Fallujah—and His Murderer Set Free?
January 12, 2014
Li was sprawled on the kitchen floor with her 5-year-old son, Kevin Zhou, both of them grievously wounded.Brooklyn Mother, Four Children Allegedly Slain by Jealous Cousin
October 28, 2013
"With pleasure," said Renmark, sitting down, while the other sprawled at full length.In the Midst of Alarms
The men laid down their loads, and sprawled about in abandon.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
He laughed ironically, and pushed her from him so suddenly that she sprawled upon the steps.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
He retreated to the bed and sprawled over a group of the "Mystics."The Education of Eric Lane
Issy, sprawled on the bench by the wheel, was muttering to himself.The Depot Master
Joseph C. Lincoln
- (intr) to sit or lie in an ungainly manner with one's limbs spread out
- to fall down or knock down with the limbs spread out in an ungainly way
- to spread out or cause to spread out in a straggling fashionhis handwriting sprawled all over the paper
- the act or an instance of sprawling
- a sprawling posture or arrangement of items
- the urban area formed by the expansion of a town or city into surrounding countrysidethe urban sprawl
- the process by which this has happened
Word Origin and History for sprawled
Old English spreawlian "move convulsively," with cognates in the Scandinavian languages and North Frisian spraweli, probably ultimately from PIE root *sper- "to strew" (see sprout (v.)). Meaning "to spread or stretch in a careless manner" is attested from 1540s; of things, from 1745. Related: Sprawled; sprawling.
1719, from sprawl (v.); meaning "straggling expansion of built-up districts into surrounding countryside" is from 1955.