to draw, stretch, or open out, especially over a flat surface, as something rolled or folded (often followed by out).
to stretch out or unfurl in the air, as folded wings, a flag, etc. (often followed by out).
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.
to display or exhibit the full extent of; set out in full: He spread the pots on the ground and started hawking his wares.
to dispose or distribute in a sheet or layer: to spread hay to dry.
to apply in a thin layer or coating: to spread butter on a slice of bread.
to overlay or cover with something: She spread the blanket over her knees.
to set or prepare (a table), as for a meal.
to extend or distribute over a region, place, period of time, among a group, etc.
to send out, scatter, or shed in various directions, as sound, light, etc.
to scatter abroad; diffuse or disseminate, as knowledge, news, disease, etc.: to spread the word of the gospel.
to move or force apart: He spread his arms over his head in surrender.
to flatten out: to spread the end of a rivet by hammering.
to extend the aperture between (the lips) laterally, so as to reduce it vertically, during an utterance.
to become stretched out or extended, as a flag in the wind; expand, as in growth.
to extend over a greater or a considerable area or period: The factory spread along the river front.
to be or lie outspread or fully extended or displayed, as a landscape or scene.
to admit of being spread or applied in a thin layer, as a soft substance: Margarine spreads easily.
to become extended or distributed over a region, as population, animals, plants, etc.
to become shed abroad, diffused, or disseminated, as light, influences, rumors, ideas, infection, etc.
to be forced apart, as the rails of a railroad track; separate.
an act or instance of spreading: With a spread of her arms the actress acknowledged the applause.
expansion, extension, or diffusion: the spread of consumerism.
the extent of distribution: to measure the spread of branches.
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.
capacity for spreading: the spread of an elastic material.
a distance or range, as between two points or dates: The long-distance movers planned a five-day spread between pickup and delivery.
a stretch, expanse, or extent of something: a spread of timber.
a cloth covering for a bed, table, or the like, especially a bedspread.
Informal. an abundance of food set out on a table; feast.
any food preparation for smearing on bread, crackers, etc., such as jam or peanut butter.
Sometimes the spread . point spread.
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.
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.
two facing pages, as of a newspaper, magazine, or book.
landed property, as a farm or ranch.
Idioms about spread
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.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use spread in a sentence
The airline industry objects that sometimes these deployable recorders can pop out without cause, spreading needless alarm.Red Tape and Black Boxes: Why We Keep ‘Losing’ Airliners in 2014 | Clive Irving | December 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Spreading a one-size-fits-all model for girls' education could backfire.Promoting Girls’ Education Isn’t Enough: Malala Can Do More | Paula Kweskin | December 9, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Protests were spreading around cities and towns in East Germany.
The rest of the episode follows Carrie spreading the gospel of her indignance over the thoughtless goodbye.Confessions of a Rom-Com Writer: Liz Tuccillo Talks ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘Take Care,’ and More | Kevin Fallon | December 5, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Timeline: Is the story still spreading at the time of the inquiry?TRAILS: The Tool That Tracks Truth and Lies On Twitter | Brandy Zadrozny | November 18, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But I don't suppose Weston would bother spreading the tails out when he sat down.The Soldier of the Valley | Nelson Lloyd
Next day they buried him under the shade of a spreading tree, and left him there—alone in the wilderness.Hunting the Lions | R.M. Ballantyne
About sunrise the troop left camp in a body, later spreading fanwise over the prairies.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
By spreading over us the heavy woolen blankets the Mounted Police use under their saddles, we slept in comfort.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
When they reached this place they were very tired, and sat down by a spring beneath the wide-spreading branches of a tree.Our Little Korean Cousin | H. Lee M. Pike
British Dictionary definitions for spread
to extend or unfold or be extended or unfolded to the fullest width: she spread the map on the table
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
to apply or be applied in a coating: butter does not spread very well when cold
to distribute or be distributed over an area or region
to display or be displayed in its fullest extent: the landscape spread before us
(tr) to prepare (a table) for a meal
(tr) to lay out (a meal) on a table
to send or be sent out in all directions; disseminate or be disseminated: someone has been spreading rumours; the disease spread quickly
(of rails, wires, etc) to force or be forced apart
to increase the breadth of (a part), esp to flatten the head of a rivet by pressing, hammering, or forging
to lay out (hay) in a relatively thin layer to dry
to scatter (seed, manure, etc) over a relatively wide area
(tr often foll by around) informal to make (oneself) agreeable to a large number of people, often of the opposite sex
phonetics to narrow and lengthen the aperture of (the lips) as for the articulation of a front vowel, such as (iː) in English see (siː)
the act or process of spreading; diffusion, dispersal, expansion, etc: the spread of the Christian religion
informal the wingspan of an aircraft
an extent of space or time; stretch: a spread of 50 years
informal, mainly US and Canadian a ranch or relatively large tract of land
the limit of something fully extended: the spread of a bird's wings
a covering for a table or bed
informal a large meal or feast, esp when it is laid out on a table
a food which can be spread on bread, etc: salmon spread
two facing pages in a book or other publication
a widening of the hips and waist: middle-age spread
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)
jewellery the apparent size of a gemstone when viewed from above expressed in carats: a diamond with a spread of four carats
extended or stretched out, esp to the fullest extent
(of a gem) shallow and flat
(of the lips) forming a long narrow aperture
(of speech sounds) articulated with spread lips: ( iː ) in English "feel" is a spread vowel
- 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