Definition of sprawl in English:

sprawl

Line breaks: sprawl
Pronunciation: /sprɔːl
 
/

verb

[no object, with adverbial]
  • 1Sit, lie, or fall with one’s arms and legs spread out in an ungainly way: the door shot open, sending him sprawling across the pavement she lay sprawled on the bed
    More example sentences
    • A second corpse already lay sprawled at the policeman's boots.
    • Out on the desert white figures lay sprawled dead and dying.
    • The story ends with both lying together sprawled on a bed, as ‘Figures, waiting to be arranged’.
    Synonyms
    stretch out, lounge, loll, lie, lie down, lie back, recline, drape oneself, be recumbent, be prostrate, be supine, slump, flop, slouch
  • 1.1Spread out over a large area in an untidy or irregular way: the town sprawled along several miles of cliff top (as adjective sprawling) the sprawling suburbs
    More example sentences
    • Claiming that Sarah Ferguson comes from Basingstoke is pushing it: she grew up on the 876-acre family farm at Dummer, safely south of the M3, gentility's bulwark against the town which sprawls along the motorway's north side.
    • The towns sprawled out of control, while rural mediocrity fed on itself.
    • Along with the traffic, a city sprawling in all directions and surrounded by mountains, pollution is visible everyday.
    Synonyms
    spread, stretch, straggle, ramble, trail, spill

noun

[usually in singular] Back to top  
  • 1An ungainly or carelessly relaxed position in which one’s arms and legs are spread out: she fell into a sort of luxurious sprawl
  • 1.1A group or mass of something that has spread out in an untidy or irregular way: a sprawl of buildings
    More example sentences
    • Long treated as a back, it was full of coal stores and junk, and cluttered with a sprawl of buildings added piecemeal over the years.
    • The designer goods are in there, but they must be ferreted out of mass quantities stacked on undifferentiated shelves in an encompassing sprawl.
    • The major inheritance of the Community Councils was vast sprawls of low-quality township housing; rents were a major source of income.
  • 1.2 [mass noun] The disorganized and unattractive expansion of an urban or industrial area into the adjoining countryside: the growth of urban sprawl
    More example sentences
    • Many architecture critics go beyond opinion about the aesthetics of individual buildings, including reporting on sprawl and urban development.
    • Urban sprawl is taxing the city's infrastructure; local authorities have identified some $3 billion in much-needed transportation improvements.
    • Urban sprawl and chaos create many planning problems.

Derivatives

sprawlingly

adverb
More example sentences
  • The first thing one remarks of Paul Manes' paintings of sprawlingly rendered stacked bowls is the complex sensuousness of their surfaces.

Origin

Old English spreawlian 'move the limbs convulsively'; related to Danish sprælle 'kick or splash about'. The noun dates from the early 18th century.

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