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verb (past and past participle spread)
1 [with object] open out (something) so as to extend its surface area, width, or length:I spread a towel on the sand and sat down she helped Chris to spread out the map stretch out (arms, legs, hands, fingers, or wings) so that they are far apart:the swan spread its wings 2 [no object, with adverbial] extend over a large or increasing area:she stood at the window looking at the town spread out below
) (of a group of people) move apart so as to cover a wider area:the Marines spread out across the docks
[with object and adverbial] distribute or disperse (something) over a certain area:volcanic eruptions spread dust high into the stratosphere gradually reach or cause to reach a larger and larger area or more and more people: [no object]:the violence spread from the city to the suburbs [with object]:she’s always spreading rumors about other people (of people, animals, or plants) become distributed over a large or larger area:the owls have spread as far north as Yellowknife [with object and adverbial] distribute (something) in a specified way:you can spread the payments over as long a period as you like 3 [with object and adverbial] apply (a substance) to an object or surface in an even layer:he sighed, spreading jam on a croissant cover (a surface) with a substance in an even layer:spread each slice thinly with mayonnaise [no object, with adverbial] be able to be applied in an even layer:the whipped butter spreads easily 4 [with object] archaic lay (a table) for a meal.
1the fact or process of spreading over an area:the spread of AIDS the spread of the urban population into rural areas 2the extent, width, or area covered by something:the male’s antlers can attain a spread of six feet an expanse or amount of something:the green spread of the park North American a large farm or ranch. 3the range or variety of something:a wide spread of ages the difference between two rates or prices:the very narrow spread between borrowing and deposit rates 4a soft paste that can be applied in a layer to bread or other food. 5an article or advertisement covering several columns or pages of a newspaper or magazine, especially one on two facing pages:a double-page spread North American a bedspread. 6 informal a large and impressively elaborate meal.