• synonyms


  1. distributor.
Show More


or dis·trib·ut·er

  1. a person or thing that distributes.
  2. Commerce.
    1. a person, firm, etc., engaged in the general distribution or marketing of some article or class of goods.
    2. a wholesaler who has exclusive rights to market, within a given territory, the goods of a manufacturer or company.
  3. Automotive, Machinery. a device in a multicylinder engine that distributes the igniting voltage to the spark plugs in a definite sequence.
  4. Printing.
    1. (in a press) one of the rollers for spreading ink on the table, rolling it to a proper consistency, and transferring it to rollers that ink the form or plate.
    2. Also called distributor bar.(in a Linotype) a bar with keylike cuts along its length, for sorting matrices into their proper magazines after type has been cast.
Show More

Origin of distributor

From the Late Latin word distribūtor, dating back to 1520–30. See distribute, -tor
Related formssub·dis·trib·u·tor, nounun·der·dis·trib·u·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for distributers

Historical Examples

  • Food, fruit, cigarettes, and drinking cups as distributers of disease.

    Manual of Military Training

    James A. Moss

  • The latter were distributers of papers to country customers.

  • The shop-keepers shook their fists at the distributers, who made off, chased by angry women armed with brooms.

    Penguin Island

    Anatole France

  • Both Holland and England have acted as distributers, re-exporting each year most of the coffee which entered their ports.

    All About Coffee

    William H. Ukers

  • This sale took place on a large scale and in broad day; money was given to distributers who divided it among the voters.

British Dictionary definitions for distributers



  1. a person or thing that distributes
  2. a wholesaler or middleman engaged in the distribution of a category of goods, esp to retailers in a specific area
  3. the device in a petrol engine that distributes the high-tension voltage to the sparking plugs in the sequence of the firing order
Show More
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 distributers



1520s, distributer (Latinized form is from 1570s), agent noun from Latin distribuere (see distribution). As a part in an internal combustion engine, from 1905.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper