from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The process of distributing or the condition of being distributed, especially.
  • noun The process of marketing and supplying goods, especially to retailers.
  • noun Law The transmission of inherited property to its heirs after taxes, debts, and costs of the estate have been paid.
  • noun Something distributed; an allotment.
  • noun A spatial or temporal array of objects or events, especially.
  • noun The geographic occurrence or range of an organism.
  • noun The geographic occurrence or range of a custom, usage, or other feature.
  • noun Statistics A characterization of the occurrence of the actual unique values in a set of data (as in a frequency distribution) or of the theoretical unique values of a random variable (as in a probability distribution).
  • noun Mathematics A generalized function used in the study of partial differential equations.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of dividing or parceling out; allotment in shares or according to requirement; apportionment; division among several: as, the distribution of an estate among the heirs; the distribution of justice or of alms; the distribution of parts in a play.
  • noun That which is distributed or apportioned.
  • noun The act or process of separating and arranging, or the special arrangement secured; separation into distinct order, parts, or classes; systematic or natural arrangement: as, the distribution of printing-types into their boxes (see distribute, II., 2); the distribution of plants into genera and species.
  • noun The act of spreading out as over a surface; in printing, the spreading of ink in an even film over the inking-rollers and the inking-table.
  • noun In rhetoric: Enumeration of several persons or things, with attribution to each of a special office, function, or characteristic.
  • noun The classification of the topics of a discourse by dividing them under different heads: now more commonly called division.
  • noun In logic: The distinguishing of a universal whole into its several kinds or species: thus differing from division, by which an integral whole is distinguished into its several parts.
  • noun The acceptation of a term in a general sense to apply to many individuals.
  • noun In architecture, the arrangement of a plan with reference to walls and open spaces, or to the various services and uses to which the different apartments of an interior are destined; also, the artistic combination of masses, ornaments, wall-openings, various kinds of masonry, etc.—
  • noun In political economics, the division of the aggregate produce of the industry of any society among the independent individuals who compose it.—
  • noun In steam-engines, the operation by which steam is admitted into and withdrawn from the cylinder at each stroke of the piston.
  • noun Synonyms Apportionment, partition, division, disposition, grouping.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of distributing or dispensing; the act of dividing or apportioning among several or many; apportionment.
  • noun Separation into parts or classes; arrangement of anything into parts; disposition; classification.
  • noun That which is distributed.
  • noun (Logic) A resolving a whole into its parts.
  • noun (Print.) The sorting of types and placing them in their proper boxes in the cases.
  • noun (Steam Engine) The steps or operations by which steam is supplied to and withdrawn from the cylinder at each stroke of the piston; viz., admission, suppression or cutting off, release or exhaust, and compression of exhaust steam prior to the next admission.
  • noun the natural arrangements of animals and plants in particular regions or districts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An act of distributing or state of being distributed.
  • noun An apportionment by law (of funds, property).
  • noun business, marketing The process by which goods get to final consumers over a geographical market, including storing, selling, shipping and advertising.
  • noun The frequency of occurrence or extent of existence.
  • noun Anything distributed; portion; share
  • noun The result of distributing; arrangement.
  • noun mathematics, statistics A probability distribution; the set of relative likelihoods that a variable will have a value in a given interval.
  • noun computing A set of bundled software components; distro.
  • noun economics The apportionment of income or wealth in a population.
  • noun finance The process or result of the sale of securities, especially their placement among investors with long-term investment strategies.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the act of distributing or spreading or apportioning
  • noun the commercial activity of transporting and selling goods from a producer to a consumer
  • noun the spatial or geographic property of being scattered about over a range, area, or volume
  • noun (statistics) an arrangement of values of a variable showing their observed or theoretical frequency of occurrence


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin distributio, from distribuere 'to distribute', itself from dis- 'apart' + tribuere 'to ' (from tribus).


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  • The cycle involving hundreds of billions of dollars starting from tax collection … and ending in distribution is not easy to follow but we plan to make it much more exposed to public scrutiny.

    Beyond porkbusters: Paramedia « BuzzMachine 2005

  • For the purposes of this guide the term distribution does

    1.1 Definition of distribution 1997

  • United Nations special envoy Moustapha Niasse said the DRC groups were now ready to discuss what he termed the distribution of state responsibilities.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 2002

  • MR. MCCURRY: Well, what they call the distribution tables won't be done by the Treasury Department until they have actually got some specific legislative language that they're looking at, so I don't know that anyone, including Mr. Gephardt, are in a position at this point to understand what the distributional impact of any tax code changes would be.

    Press Briefing By Mike Mccurry ITY National Archives 1997

  • There were several changes that we've made in what we call distribution.

    unknown title 2012

  • The reduction in the amount of the award spurred the RIAA to question whether certain terms in the Copyright Act were misinterpreted and need further examination-specifically, the word "distribution."

    Ars Technica Casey Johnston 2011

  • The reduction in the amount of the award spurred the RIAA to question whether certain terms in the Copyright Act were misinterpreted and need further examination-specifically, the word "distribution."

    Ars Technica Casey Johnston 2011

  • Sunoco Logistics (NYSE: SXL) also increased its equivalent of a dividend, which it calls a distribution, to $1.04 per unit for the quarter.

    Jacksonville Business News - Local Jacksonville News | Jacksonville Business Journal 2009

  • We know that digital distribution is changing the way people buy their reading material.

    IROSF bids farewell « Third Point of Singularity 2010

  • I don't know if the tax structure benefits publishers there more than our tax structure does here, or if the economics of distribution largely within a much smaller, more densely populated country plays a part (distribution is horrendously expensive), but the current American SF newsstand is pretty much ruled by UK magazines, everything from SFX to Sci Fi Now and Deathray to a zillion licensed TV titles (is Charmed even still on TV??).

    Starlog To Cease Magazine Publication 2009


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  • 10. the marketing, transporting, merchandising, and selling of any item.

    January 18, 2007