spread eagle


a representation of an eagle with outspread wings: used as an emblem of the U.S.
an acrobatic figure in skating performed by making a glide with the skates touching heel-to-heel in a straight line and with the arms outstretched.
an acrobatic stunt in ski jumping executed with the legs and arms widely outstretched to the sides.



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Origin of spread eagle

First recorded in 1560–70

Definition for spread eagle (2 of 2)

[ spred-ee-guhl ]
/ ˈsprɛdˌi gəl /


having or suggesting the form of a spread eagle.
lying prone with arms and legs outstretched.
boastful or bombastic, especially in the display of patriotic or nationalistic pride in the U.S.

verb (used with object), spread-ea·gled, spread-ea·gling.

to stretch out (something) in the manner of a spread eagle.

verb (used without object), spread-ea·gled, spread-ea·gling.

to assume the position or perform the acrobatic figure of a spread eagle: The skater spread-eagled across the rink.

Origin of spread-eagle

First recorded in 1820–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for spread eagle

British Dictionary definitions for spread eagle (1 of 2)

spread eagle


the representation of an eagle with outstretched wings, used as an emblem of the US
an acrobatic skating figure

British Dictionary definitions for spread eagle (2 of 2)


adjective Also: spread-eagled

lying or standing with arms and legs outstretched


to assume or cause to assume the shape of a spread eagle
(intr) skating to execute a spread eagle
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