I UK [spred] / US verb
Word forms "spread":
present tense I/you/we/they spread he/she/it spreads present participle spreading past tense spread past participle spread
a) [intransitive] to gradually affect or cover a larger area

UN leaders hope to prevent the fighting from spreading.

Rain will spread from the west this evening.

Anti-globalization protests spread rapidly across the globe.

Within less than an hour, the fire had spread to the fuel stores.

She heard a shot, then saw a dark-red stain spreading across his shirt.

b) if a smile or other expression spreads across or over your face, it becomes gradually bigger or more obvious

He let a slow smile spread across his face.

2) [intransitive/transitive] if a disease spreads, or if something spreads it, it affects more people as it is passed from one person to another

Cholera spread quickly through the refugee camp.

Soldiers returning from the war soon spread the disease through most of the region.

a computer virus that spread rapidly through users' email systems

3) spread or spread out
[transitive] to open something that is folded so that it covers a surface spread something on/over something:

We spread the blanket on the grass and sat down on it.

The map was spread on the floor.

4) [intransitive/transitive] to cover a surface with a thin layer of a soft food

Butter spreads more easily when it hasn't been in the fridge.

spread something on something:

Maureen spread jam on her toast.

spread something with something:

First, spread the bread with mayonnaise.

5) [transitive] to divide and share work or obligations among several people

We will bring in extra staff to spread the workload.

a) [transitive] to divide an amount of money that you owe into parts and pay it in several instalments instead of all at one time
spread something over something:

You can spread your payments over two, three, or five years.

b) spread or spread out
[transitive, usually passive] to make something happen at several times during a long period instead of all at once

Attacks of the illness were spread over a three-year period.

c) [transitive] if you spread a risk, you invest in several different things so that if one fails, you do not lose everything

Smythe spread his financial risk by investing in a wide range of businesses.

6) [intransitive/transitive, usually passive] to be present in many parts of a large area
be spread over/across something:

There are 54 community colleges spread across California.

Indonesia is a nation of over 200 million people, spread over 17,000 islands.

a) [transitive] to give information to many people

Someone has been spreading nasty rumours about Stella's private life.

b) [intransitive] if information spreads, it becomes known by more people than before
spread to:

News of the attack has already spread to the islands.

a) spread or spread out
[transitive] to move your arms, legs, or hands so that they are far apart

First, lie on the floor with your arms spread wide.

b) to open something wide

The bird spread its wings and flew away.

9) [transitive] to cause a lot of people to have a particular feeling

Smiling at people was Debra's way of spreading a little happiness.

A gang of drug dealers was spreading terror in the neighbourhood.

spread the word/gospel/message — to tell a lot of people about an idea that you believe in

They are spreading the word on the need for healthy eating.

Campaigners worked tirelessly to spread the environmentalist message.

Phrasal verbs:
II UK [spred] / US noun
Word forms "spread":
singular spread plural spreads
1) [singular] the growth or development of something, so that it affects a larger area or a larger number of people
spread of:

There were concerns about the spread of fighting to other regions.

The aim of US foreign policy at that time was to prevent the spread of communism.

The spread of literacy has greatly improved the region's economic performance.

a) a situation in which disease begins to infect more and more people

They still do not know how to prevent the spread of the disease.

b) a situation in which a fire starts to affect a larger area than before

Close doors to delay the spread of fire and smoke.

2) [countable/uncountable] soft food that you put on bread and similar foods

We prefer low-fat spreads to butter.

3) [singular] a number of different things
spread of:

You minimize risk by investing in a spread of companies.

4) [countable] a long article in a newspaper or magazine

a double-page/two-page spread

5) [singular] the width of something

The mature plant is around six feet tall with a spread of four feet.

6) [countable] informal a large meal with a lot of different dishes to choose from

That was quite a spread they put on last night.

English dictionary. 2014.

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