Definition of spread verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//spred//
    ; NAmE NAmE//spred//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they spread
    BrE BrE//spred//
    ; NAmE NAmE//spred//
    he / she / it spreads
    BrE BrE//spredz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//spredz//
    past simple spread
    BrE BrE//spred//
    ; NAmE NAmE//spred//
    past participle spread
    BrE BrE//spred//
    ; NAmE NAmE//spred//
    -ing form spreading
    BrE BrE//ˈspredɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈspredɪŋ//
    Preparing food, Ailments and diseases, Being ill
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  1. 1  [transitive] spread something (out) (on/over something) to open something that has been folded so that it covers a larger area than before to spread a cloth on a table Sue spread the map out on the floor. The bird spread its wings.
  2. 2  [transitive] spread something (out) (on/over something) to arrange objects so that they cover a large area and can be seen easily Papers had been spread out on the desk.
  3. 3[transitive] to place the thumb and a finger of one hand on the screen of an electronic device such as a mobile/cell phone or small computer and move them apart to make the image on the screen larger, as though it is closer Re-size the text by using the pinch and spread gestures on the screen. see also pinch (3)
  4. arms/legs
  5. 4  [transitive] spread something (out) to move your arms, legs, fingers, etc. far apart from each other She spread her arms and the child ran towards her.
  6. among people
  7. 5  [intransitive, transitive] to affect or make something affect, be known by, or be used by more and more people (+ adv./prep.) The disease spreads easily. Within weeks, his confidence had spread throughout the team. Use of computers spread rapidly during that period. spread something to spread rumours/lies about somebody The disease is spread by mosquitoes. Wordfinderbacteria, disease, epidemic, fever, illness, immunity, infection, spread, vaccinate, virus See related entries: Ailments and diseases, Being ill
  8. cover large area
  9. 6  [intransitive, transitive] to cover, or to make something cover, a larger and larger area (+ adv./prep.) The fire rapidly spread to adjoining buildings. Water began to spread across the floor. A smile spread slowly across her face. spread something Using too much water could spread the stain.
  10. 7  [transitive] spread somebody/something to cause somebody/something to be in a number of different places Seeds and pollen are spread by the wind. We have 10 000 members spread all over the country.
  11. 8[intransitive] spread (out) + adv./prep. to cover a large area The valley spread out beneath us.
  12. soft layer
  13. 9  [transitive, intransitive] to put a layer of a substance onto the surface of something; to be able to be put onto a surface spread (A on/over B) to spread butter on pieces of toast spread (B with A) pieces of toast spread with butter If the paint is too thick, it will not spread evenly. See related entries: Preparing food
  14. divide/share
  15. 10  [transitive] to separate something into parts and divide them between different times or different people spread something Why not pay monthly and spread the cost of your car insurance? spread something (out) (over something) A series of five interviews will be spread over two days. spread something between somebody/something We attempted to spread the workload between the departments.
  16. Word OriginOld English -sprǣdan (used in combinations), of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch spreiden and German spreiten.Extra examples Allow plenty of space for this plant as its roots spread widely. Don’t make the paste too thick, or it will not spread evenly. Expertise in this field is very thinly spread across the country. Friends may be spread geographically. Neighbours, by definition, are nearby. He had a newspaper spread open on his knee. He spread jam on the toast. His fame had spread far and wide. Spread each slice generously with butter. The course takes forty hours, spread over twenty weeks. The disease can be spread by contact. The effects of this policy spread far beyond children now at school. The news spread like wildfire. We spread the rug out on the floor. We tried to spread the workload evenly between the departments. With four markets to manage, there’s a danger that’s she’s spreading herself too thin. a bird with its wings spread wide He shuffled the cards and spread them in a fan. If the paint is too thick, it will not spread easily. She spread butter on a piece of toast. Spread the cake with cream and then sprinkle flakes of chocolate on top. The bird spread its wings and flew away. They spread a cloth on a table. I wish he would stop spreading lies about me. Within weeks his confidence had spread throughout the team.Idioms (of news, etc.) to become known by more and more people very quickly Rumours of his death spread like wildfire. to consider a wide range of possibilities or cover a large area, especially to try to find somebody/something They have spread their net far and wide in the search for a new team coach. to become more independent and confident and try new activities, etc. Going to college gave her the chance to spread her wings. to tell people about something
    spread yourself too thin
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    to try to do so many different things at the same time that you do not do any of them well
    Phrasal Verbsspread out
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: spread