Etymology: Middle English spreden, from Old English -sprǣdan; akin to Old High German spreiten to spread
Date: 13th century
a. to open or expand over a larger area <spread out the map> b. to stretch out ; extend <spread its wings for flight> 2. a. to distribute over an area <spread fertilizer> b. to distribute over a period or among a group <spread the work over a few weeks> c. to apply on a surface <spread butter on bread> d. (1) to cover or overlay something with <spread the cloth on the table> (2) archaic to cover completely e. (1) to prepare or furnish for dining ; set <spread the table> (2) serve <spread the afternoon tea> 3. a. to make widely known <spread the news> b. to extend the range or incidence of <spread a disease> c. diffuse, emit <flowers spreading their fragrance> 4. to push apart by weight or force intransitive verb 1. a. to become dispersed, distributed, or scattered b. to become known or disseminated <panic spread rapidly> 2. to grow in length or breadth ; expand 3. to move apart (as from pressure or weight) ; separate • spreadability noun • spreadable adjective II. noun Date: 1626 1. a. the act or process of spreading b. extent of spreading 2. something spread out: as a. a surface area ; expanse b. (1) a ranch or homestead especially in the western United States (2) West a herd of animals c. (1) a prominent display in a periodical (2) two facing pages (as of a newspaper) usually with matter running across the fold; also the matter occupying these pages 3. something spread on or over a surface: as a. a food to be spread (as on bread or crackers) <a cheese spread> b. a sumptuous meal ; feast c. a cloth cover for a table or bed 4. distance between two points ; gap 5. a commodities market transaction in which a participant hedges with simultaneous long and short options in different commodities or different delivery dates in the same commodity
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.