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

  • intransitive verb To open to a fuller extent or width; stretch.
  • intransitive verb To make wider the gap between; move farther apart.
  • intransitive verb To distribute over a surface in a layer.
  • intransitive verb To cover with a layer.
  • intransitive verb To distribute widely.
  • intransitive verb To make a wide or extensive arrangement of.
  • intransitive verb To exhibit or display the full extent of.
  • intransitive verb To cause to become widely seen or known; scatter or disseminate.
  • intransitive verb To prepare (a table) for eating; set.
  • intransitive verb To arrange (food or a meal) on a table.
  • intransitive verb To flatten (a rivet end, for example) by pounding.
  • intransitive verb To be extended or enlarged.
  • intransitive verb To move over an area, be distributed, or be widely dispersed.
  • intransitive verb To become known or prevalent over a wide area.
  • intransitive verb To be exhibited, displayed, or visible in broad or full extent.
  • intransitive verb To become or admit of being distributed in a layer.
  • intransitive verb To become separated; be forced farther apart.
  • noun The act or process of spreading.
  • noun Dissemination, as of news; diffusion.
  • noun An open area of land; an expanse.
  • noun A ranch, farm, or estate.
  • noun The extent or limit to which something is or can be spread.
  • noun A cloth covering for a bed, table, or other piece of furniture.
  • noun Informal An abundant meal laid out on a table.
  • noun A food to be spread on bread or crackers.
  • noun Two facing pages of a magazine, newspaper, or book, considered as a unit.
  • noun An article or advertisement running across two or more columns of a newspaper or magazine.
  • noun A difference, as between two figures or totals.
  • noun A position taken in two or more options or futures contracts in order to profit from a change in their relative prices.
  • noun The difference between the price asked and bid for a particular security.
  • noun The difference in yields between two fixed-income securities, as between short-term and long-term bonds.
  • noun A number of points offered to equalize the chances of winning in a wager on a competition, usually between sports teams.
  • noun Wingspread.
  • idiom (spread (oneself) thin) To work on too many projects: overextend oneself.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In mathematics: A continuous or discontinuous connected aggregate, assemblage, or manifold of elements: thus, for instance, a two-spread may be considered as a surface with points or lines as elements.
  • noun In bacteriology, same as smear, 6.
  • noun A misère or grando, in any game of cards in which the single player's cards are placed face up on the table. See skat and boston.
  • noun The act of spreading or extending; propagation; diffusion: as, the spread of knowledge.
  • noun The state, condition, quality, or capability of being outspread; expansion: as, the tail of the peacock has an imposing spread.
  • noun The amount of extension or expansion, especially in surface; expanse; breadth; compass.
  • noun Hence—4. See the quotation.
  • noun A stretch; an expanse.
  • noun Capacity for spreading or stretching.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English spreden, from Old English -sprǣdan (as in tōsprǣdan, to spread out); see sper- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English spreden, from Old English sprǣdan ("to spread, expand"), from Proto-Germanic *spraidijanan (“to spread”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)per- (“to strew, sow, sprinkle”). Cognate with West Frisian spriede ("to spread"), North Frisian spriedjen ("to spread"), Dutch spreiden ("to spread"), Low German spreden ("to spread"), German spreiten ("to spread, spread out"), Norwegian spreida, spreie ("to spread, disseminate"), Swedish sprida ("to spread").



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