Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To spread here and there; scatter: strewing flowers down the aisle.
  • transitive v. To cover (an area or a surface) with things scattered or sprinkled: "Italy . . . was strewn thick with the remains of Roman buildings” ( Bernard Berenson).
  • transitive v. To be or become dispersed over (a surface).
  • transitive v. To spread (something) over a wide area; disseminate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To distribute objects or pieces of something over an area, especially in a random manner.
  • v. To cover, or lie upon, by having been scattered.
  • v. To spread abroad; to disseminate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To scatter; to spread by scattering; to cast or to throw loosely apart; -- used of solids, separated or separable into parts or particles
  • transitive v. To cover more or less thickly by scattering something over or upon; to cover, or lie upon, by having been scattered
  • transitive v. To spread abroad; to disseminate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To scatter; spread loosely: said of dry, loose, separable filings: as, to strew seed in beds; to strew sand on the floor; to strew flowers over a grave.
  • To cover in spots and patches here and there, as if by sprinkling or casting loosely about.
  • To spread a broad; give currency to.

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

  • v. spread by scattering (
  • v. cover; be dispersed over

Etymologies

Middle English strewen, from Old English strēowian; see ster-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English strewian. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word strew means to scatter -- as men scatter seed in sowing it.

    Barnes New Testament Notes

  • Their language is free from bad rhetoric; the reasoning is cogent, but there is an absence of emotion and imagination; they contain few quotable things, and no passages of commanding eloquence, such as strew the orations of Webster and Burke.

    Brief History of English and American Literature

  • The most persuasive explanation is that the word comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'strew' meaning 'spread', a reference to the plant's ability to reproduce by sending out runners and layering, but there are many other tales in circulation including the idea that the berries used to be sold on straws in the manner of a fruity kebab.

    Life and style | guardian.co.uk

  • With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha 'strew'd his grave,

    Cymbeline

  • 2722: With wild wood-leaues & weeds, I ha 'strew'd his graue

    Cymbeline (1623 First Folio Edition)

  • We saw a pink quartz arrowhead and a scraper on one strew of fire-cracked rock.

    Bird Cloud

  • During the visit, as always, the site was spotless—no piles of rebar, no heaps of wood scraps, no mounds of dirt, no strew of nails and screws.

    Bird Cloud

  • In my experience, the portion of this that most needs a wish of good luck is getting the kids (and possibly husband) to not strew everything around the house out of the groupings – so good luck!

    Spring Cleaning « Bored Mommy

  • Carefully lift the bird and strew the remaining herbs over the vegetables.

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's climate-friendly recipes

  • Members relished a soliloquy of Launce to his shoes, who spin his relatives as they bewail his depart for unfamiliar shoresin sharp contrariety to his dog Crab, who callously refuses to strew a tear (2.3).

    Archive 2009-11-01

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I suppose the simple past is strewed and p.p. strewn. I'm sure I've misused this in my time. I tend to favour irregular constructions.

    October 10, 2011

  • The legions of Armenia supported their fame in arms; but they were oppressed by the irresistible weight of the hostile multitude: the left wing of the Romans was thrown into disorder and the field was strewed with their mangled carcasses.

    - Gibbon, Decline and Fall, XXVI. iii.

    July 1, 2009

  • "it strewed the whole of the north-western coast of Europe with wrecks" - Leigh Hunt; Autobiography

    December 21, 2008