Other forms: spreading; spreads

When something is spread, it's stretched or extended as far as it can go. It's a beautiful sight to see a bald eagle spread its wings and fly.

When you spread a picnic blanket on the ground, you open it and stretch it across the grass. You can also see the ocean spread out in front of you, or spread butter on toast, for example. Any way you use it, spread implies an extension across some distance, a stretching of some sort. The expression spread too thin means you are having trouble finding the time and energy to do everything in your life.

Definitions of spread
  1. verb
    distribute or disperse widely
    “The invaders spread their language all over the country”
    synonyms: distribute
    see moresee less
    collect, garner, gather, pull together
    assemble or get together
    show 21 types...
    hide 21 types...
    generalise, generalize
    become systemic and spread throughout the body
    metastasise, metastasize
    spread throughout the body
    pour forth or release
    disseminate, straw, strew
    spread by scattering
    cause to spread in another part of the world
    transmit or cause to broaden or spread
    to distribute systematically or strategically
    distribute anew
    sprawl, straggle
    go, come, or spread in a rambling or irregular way
    diffuse, fan out, spread out
    move outward
    eject, force out, squeeze out, squirt
    cause to come out in a squirt
    disperse, dot, dust, scatter, sprinkle
    distribute loosely
    discharge or direct or be discharged or directed as if in a continuous stream
    discharge in, or as if in, a volley
    cover by strewing
    make a place messy by strewing garbage around
    deploy anew
    spread gradually
    grow or spread, often in such a way as to cover (a surface)
    bleed, run
    be diffused
    spread over a surface, like a mantle
  2. verb
    strew or distribute over an area
    “He spread fertilizer over the lawn”
    synonyms: scatter, spread out
    see moresee less
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    manure, muck
    spread manure, as for fertilization
    birdlime, lime
    spread birdlime on branches to catch birds
    spread something around something
    spread throughout a given area
    type of:
    circulate, distribute, pass around, pass on
    cause to be distributed
  3. verb
    cause to become widely known
    spread information”
    synonyms: broadcast, circularise, circularize, circulate, diffuse, disperse, disseminate, distribute, pass around, propagate
    circulate, go around
    become widely known and passed on
    see moresee less
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    distribute (multimedia files) over the internet for playback on a mobile device or a personal computer
    introduce into an environment
    generalise, generalize, popularise, popularize, vulgarise, vulgarize
    cater to popular taste to make popular and present to the general public; bring into general or common use
    carry, run
    include as the content; broadcast or publicize
    type of:
    air, bare, publicise, publicize
    make public
  4. verb
    become distributed or widespread
    “the infection spread
    “Optimism spread among the population”
    synonyms: propagate
    see moresee less
    spread or be communicated
    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  5. verb
    spread across or over
    “A big oil spot spread across the water”
    synonyms: overspread
    see moresee less
    spread over land, especially along a subsiding shoreline
    type of:
    continue, cover, extend
    span an interval of distance, space or time
  6. verb
    become widely known and passed on
    “the rumor spread
    synonyms: circulate, go around
    broadcast, circularise, circularize, circulate, diffuse, disperse, disseminate, distribute, pass around, propagate
    cause to become widely known
    see moresee less
    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  7. verb
    move outward
    synonyms: diffuse, fan out, spread out
    see moresee less
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    spread gradually
    grow or spread, often in such a way as to cover (a surface)
    bleed, run
    be diffused
    spread over a surface, like a mantle
    release color when rubbed, of badly dyed fabric
    type of:
    distribute or disperse widely
  8. verb
    cover by spreading something over
    spread the bread with cheese”
    see moresee less
    spread thickly
    type of:
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  9. verb
    distribute over a surface in a layer
    spread cheese on a piece of bread”
  10. noun
    process or result of distributing or extending over a wide expanse of space
    synonyms: spreading
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    the spread of social institutions (and myths and skills) from one society to another
    dispersion, scattering
    spreading widely or driving off
    (pathology) the spread of pathogenic microorganisms or malignant cells to new sites in the body
    (physiology) the spread of sensory neural impulses in the cortex
    the spread of a group of organisms into new habitats
    the dispersion of the Jews outside Israel; from the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 587-86 BC when they were exiled to Babylonia up to the present time
    breaking up and scattering by dispersion
    adaptive radiation
    the development of many different forms from an originally homogeneous group of organisms as they fill different ecological niches
    type of:
    change of location, travel
    a movement through space that changes the location of something
  11. noun
    act of extending over a wider scope or expanse of space or time
    synonyms: spreading
    see moresee less
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    the spread or transmission of something (as news or money) to a wider group or area
    diffusion, dispersal, dispersion, dissemination
    the act of dispersing or diffusing something
    scatter, scattering, strewing
    the act of scattering
    decentralisation, decentralization
    the spread of power away from the center to local branches or governments
    circulation again
    crop-dusting, spraying
    the dispersion of fungicides or insecticides or fertilizer on growing crops (often from a low-flying aircraft)
    type of:
    act of expanding in scope; making more widely available
  12. noun
    a tasty mixture to be spread on bread or crackers or used in preparing other dishes
    synonyms: paste
    see moresee less
    show 20 types...
    hide 20 types...
    margarin, margarine, marge, oleo, oleomargarine
    a spread made chiefly from vegetable oils and used as a substitute for butter
    nut butter
    ground nuts blended with a little butter
    peanut butter
    a spread made from ground peanuts
    marshmallow fluff
    a very sweet white spread resembling marshmallow candy
    onion butter
    butter blended with minced onion
    pimento butter
    butter blended with mashed pimento
    shrimp butter
    butter blended with chopped shrimp or seasoned with essence from shrimp shells
    lobster butter
    butter blended with chopped lobster or seasoned with essence from lobster shells
    cheese spread
    spread made of cheese mixed with butter or cream or cream cheese and seasonings
    anchovy butter
    butter blended with mashed anchovies
    a paste of fish or shellfish
    garlic butter
    butter seasoned with mashed garlic
    a thick paste made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt; used in Japanese cooking to make soups or sauces
    hommos, hoummos, hummus, humous, humus
    a thick spread made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic; used especially as a dip for pita; originated in the Middle East
    liver or meat or fowl finely minced or ground and variously seasoned
    a spread consisting of capers and black olives and anchovies made into a puree with olive oil
    a thick Middle Eastern paste made from ground sesame seeds
    a rectangular quarter pound block of butter or margarine
    duck pate
    a pate made from duck liver
    foie gras, pate de foie gras
    a pate made from goose liver (marinated in Cognac) and truffles
    type of:
    a preparation (a sauce or relish or spice) to enhance flavor or enjoyment
  13. noun
    the expansion of a person's girth (especially at middle age)
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the distance around a person's body
  14. noun
    a haphazard distribution in all directions
    synonyms: scatter
    see moresee less
    the spatial property of being spread out over a wide area or through a large volume
    type of:
    dispersion, distribution
    the spatial or geographic property of being scattered about over a range, area, or volume
  15. adjective
    distributed or spread over a considerable extent
    “eleven million Jews are spread throughout Europe”
    synonyms: dispersed
    spread out or scattered about or divided up
  16. verb
    spread out or open from a closed or folded state
    spread your arms”
    synonyms: open, spread out, unfold
    see moresee less
    fold, fold up, turn up
    bend or lay so that one part covers the other
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    spread apart
    spread by opening the leaves of
    spread out clothes on the grass to let it dry and bleach
    cut and spread open, as in preparation for cooking
    change from a crossed to an uncrossed position
    spread open or apart
    type of:
    cancel, annul, or reverse an action or its effect
  17. noun
    two facing pages of a book or other publication
    synonyms: facing pages, spread head, spreadhead
    see moresee less
    center spread, centre spread
    the spread at the center of a magazine
    centerfold, centrefold
    a magazine center spread; especially a foldout of a large photograph or map or other feature
    type of:
    one side of one leaf (of a book or magazine or newspaper or letter etc.) or the written or pictorial matter it contains
  18. adjective
    fully extended in width
    “with arms spread wide”
    synonyms: outspread
    fully extended or stretched forth
  19. noun
    farm consisting of a large tract of land along with facilities needed to raise livestock (especially cattle)
    synonyms: cattle farm, cattle ranch, ranch
    see moresee less
    type of:
    workplace consisting of farm buildings and cultivated land as a unit
  20. noun
    a meal that is well prepared and greatly enjoyed
    “they put out quite a spread
    synonyms: banquet, feast
    see moresee less
    type of:
    meal, repast
    the food served and eaten at one time
  21. adjective
    prepared or arranged for a meal; especially having food set out
    “a table spread with food”
    made ready or fit or suitable beforehand
  22. noun
    decorative cover for a bed
    synonyms: bed cover, bed covering, bedcover, bedspread, counterpane
    see moresee less
    a decorative bedspread (usually quilted)
    quilted bedspread
    a bedspread constructed like a thin quilt
    type of:
    bed clothing, bedclothes, bedding
    coverings that are used on a bed
  23. noun
    a conspicuous disparity or difference as between two figures
    “the spread between lending and borrowing costs”
    synonyms: gap
    see moresee less
    type of:
    inequality or difference in some respect




Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘spread'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up spread for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer