[ spred ]
See synonyms for: spreadspreadingspreads on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),spread, spread·ing.
  1. to draw, stretch, or open out, especially over a flat surface, as something rolled or folded (often followed by out).

  2. to stretch out or unfurl in the air, as folded wings, a flag, etc. (often followed by out).

  1. to distribute over a greater or a relatively great area of space or time (often followed by out): to spread out the papers on the table.

  2. to display or exhibit the full extent of; set out in full: He spread the pots on the ground and started hawking his wares.

  3. to dispose or distribute in a sheet or layer: to spread hay to dry.

  4. to apply in a thin layer or coating: to spread butter on a slice of bread.

  5. to overlay or cover with something: She spread the blanket over her knees.

  6. to set or prepare (a table), as for a meal.

  7. to extend or distribute over a region, place, period of time, among a group, etc.

  8. to send out, scatter, or shed in various directions, as sound, light, etc.

  9. to scatter abroad; diffuse or disseminate, as knowledge, news, disease, etc.: to spread the word of the gospel.

  10. to move or force apart: He spread his arms over his head in surrender.

  11. to flatten out: to spread the end of a rivet by hammering.

  12. Phonetics.

    • to extend the aperture between (the lips) laterally, so as to reduce it vertically, during an utterance.

    • to delabialize.: Compare round1 (def. 55c), unround.

verb (used without object),spread, spread·ing.
  1. to become stretched out or extended, as a flag in the wind; expand, as in growth.

  2. to extend over a greater or a considerable area or period: The factory spread along the river front.

  1. to be or lie outspread or fully extended or displayed, as a landscape or scene.

  2. to admit of being spread or applied in a thin layer, as a soft substance: Margarine spreads easily.

  3. to become extended or distributed over a region, as population, animals, plants, etc.

  4. to become shed abroad, diffused, or disseminated, as light, influences, rumors, ideas, infection, etc.

  5. to be forced apart, as the rails of a railroad track; separate.

  1. an act or instance of spreading: With a spread of her arms the actress acknowledged the applause.

  2. expansion, extension, or diffusion: the spread of consumerism.

  1. the extent of distribution: to measure the spread of branches.

  2. Finance.

    • the difference between the prices bid and asked of stock or a commodity for a given time.

    • a type of straddle in which the call price is placed above and the put price is placed below the current market quotation.

    • the difference between any two prices or rates for related costs: the widening spread between lending and borrowing costs.

    • Stock Exchange. a broker's profit, or the difference between their buying and selling price.

    • any difference between return on assets and costs of liabilities.

  3. capacity for spreading: the spread of an elastic material.

  4. a distance or range, as between two points or dates: The long-distance movers planned a five-day spread between pickup and delivery.

  5. a stretch, expanse, or extent of something: a spread of timber.

  6. a cloth covering for a bed, table, or the like, especially a bedspread.

  7. Informal. an abundance of food set out on a table; feast.

  8. any food preparation for smearing on bread, crackers, etc., such as jam or peanut butter.

  9. Aeronautics. wingspan.

  10. Sometimes the spread . point spread.

  11. Also called layout. Journalism. (in newspapers and magazines) an extensive, varied treatment of a subject, consisting primarily either of a number of cuts (picture spread, or picture layout ) or of a major story and several supplementary stories, usually extending across three or more columns.: Compare double truck.

  12. an advertisement, photograph, article, or the like, covering several columns, a full page, or two facing pages of a newspaper, magazine, book, etc.: a full-page spread;a two-page spread.

  13. two facing pages, as of a newspaper, magazine, or book.

  14. landed property, as a farm or ranch.

  1. Jewelry. (of a gem) cut with the table too large and the crown too shallow for maximum brilliance; swindled.

  2. Phonetics. (of the opening between the lips) extended laterally.: Compare rounded (def. 2), unrounded.

Idioms about spread

  1. spread oneself thin, to carry on so many projects simultaneously that none is done adequately, or that one's health suffers: Many college students spread themselves thin by taking on too many activities during the semester.

Origin of spread

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English verb spreden, Old English sprǣdan; cognate with Middle Dutch spreden, German spreiten

Other words for spread

Other words from spread

  • an·ti·spread·ing, adjective
  • pre·spread, verb (used with object), pre·spread, pre·spread·ing.
  • re·spread, verb, re·spread, re·spread·ing.
  • un·der·spread, verb (used with object), un·der·spread, un·der·spread·ing.
  • un·spread, adjective
  • un·spread·ing, adjective

Words Nearby spread

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spread in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spread


/ (sprɛd) /

verbspreads, spreading or spread
  1. to extend or unfold or be extended or unfolded to the fullest width: she spread the map on the table

  2. to extend or cause to extend over a larger expanse of space or time: the milk spread all over the floor; the political unrest spread over several years

  1. to apply or be applied in a coating: butter does not spread very well when cold

  2. to distribute or be distributed over an area or region

  3. to display or be displayed in its fullest extent: the landscape spread before us

  4. (tr) to prepare (a table) for a meal

  5. (tr) to lay out (a meal) on a table

  6. to send or be sent out in all directions; disseminate or be disseminated: someone has been spreading rumours; the disease spread quickly

  7. (of rails, wires, etc) to force or be forced apart

  8. to increase the breadth of (a part), esp to flatten the head of a rivet by pressing, hammering, or forging

  9. (tr) agriculture

    • to lay out (hay) in a relatively thin layer to dry

    • to scatter (seed, manure, etc) over a relatively wide area

  10. (tr often foll by around) informal to make (oneself) agreeable to a large number of people, often of the opposite sex

  11. phonetics to narrow and lengthen the aperture of (the lips) as for the articulation of a front vowel, such as () in English see (siː)

  1. the act or process of spreading; diffusion, dispersal, expansion, etc: the spread of the Christian religion

  2. informal the wingspan of an aircraft

  1. an extent of space or time; stretch: a spread of 50 years

  2. informal, mainly US and Canadian a ranch or relatively large tract of land

  3. the limit of something fully extended: the spread of a bird's wings

  4. a covering for a table or bed

  5. informal a large meal or feast, esp when it is laid out on a table

  6. a food which can be spread on bread, etc: salmon spread

  7. two facing pages in a book or other publication

  8. a widening of the hips and waist: middle-age spread

  9. stock exchange

    • the difference between the bid and offer prices quoted by a market maker

    • the excess of the price at which stock is offered for public sale over the price paid for the same stock by an underwriter

    • mainly US a double option: Compare straddle (def. 9)

  10. jewellery the apparent size of a gemstone when viewed from above expressed in carats: a diamond with a spread of four carats

  1. extended or stretched out, esp to the fullest extent

  2. (of a gem) shallow and flat

  1. phonetics

    • (of the lips) forming a long narrow aperture

    • (of speech sounds) articulated with spread lips: ( ) in English "feel" is a spread vowel

Origin of spread

Old English sprǣdan; related to Old High German spreiten to spread, Old Lithuanian sprainas stiff

Derived forms of spread

  • spreadability, noun
  • spreadable, 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