[ sprawl ]
See synonyms for: sprawlsprawledsprawling on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to be stretched or spread out in an unnatural or ungraceful manner: The puppy's legs sprawled in all directions.

  2. to sit or lie in a relaxed position with the limbs spread out carelessly or ungracefully: He sprawled across the bed.

  1. to spread out, extend, or be distributed in a straggling or irregular manner, as vines, buildings, handwriting, etc.

  2. to crawl awkwardly with the aid of all the limbs; scramble.

verb (used with object)
  1. to stretch out (the limbs) as in sprawling.

  2. to spread out or distribute in a straggling manner.

  1. the act or an instance of sprawling; a sprawling posture.

  2. a straggling array of something.

Origin of sprawl

before 1000; Middle English spraulen to move awkwardly, Old English spreawlian; cognate with Frisian (N dial.) spraweli

Other words for sprawl

Other words from sprawl

  • sprawler, noun
  • sprawl·ing·ly, adverb

Words Nearby sprawl

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use sprawl in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sprawl


/ (sprɔːl) /

  1. (intr) to sit or lie in an ungainly manner with one's limbs spread out

  2. to fall down or knock down with the limbs spread out in an ungainly way

  1. to spread out or cause to spread out in a straggling fashion: his handwriting sprawled all over the paper

  1. the act or an instance of sprawling

  2. a sprawling posture or arrangement of items

    • the urban area formed by the expansion of a town or city into surrounding countryside: the urban sprawl

    • the process by which this has happened

Origin of sprawl

Old English spreawlian; related to Old English spryttan to sprout, spurt, Greek speirein to scatter

Derived forms of sprawl

  • sprawler, noun
  • sprawly, adjective

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