Dictionary: SPREAD, or SPRED – SPRING

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  1. Extent; compass. I have a fine spread of improvable land. – Addison.
  2. Expansion of parts. No flower has that spread of the woodbind. – Bacon.

SPREAD, or SPRED, v.i.

  1. To extend itself in length and breadth, in all directions, or in breadth only; to be extended or stretched. The larger elms spread over a space of forty or fifty yards in diameter; or the shade of the larger elms spreads over that space. The larger lakes in America spread over more than fifteen hundred square miles. Plants, if they spread much, are seldom tall. – Bacon.
  2. To be extended by drawing or beating; as, a metal spreads with difficulty.
  3. To be propagated or made known more extensively. Ill reports sometimes spread with wonderful rapidity.
  4. To be propagated from one to another; as, a disease spreads into all parts of a city. The yellow fever of American cities has not been found to spread in the country.

SPREAD, or SPRED, v.t. [pret. and pp. spread or spred. Sax. sprædan, spredan; Dan. spreder; Sw. sprida; D. spreiden; G. spreiten. This is probably formed on the root of broad, G. breit; breiten, to spread. The more correct orthography is spred.]

  1. To extend in length and breadth, or in breadth only; to stretch or expand to a broader surface; as, to spread a carpet or a table cloth; to spread a sheet on the ground.
  2. To extend; to form into a plate; as, to spread silver. – Jer. x.
  3. To set; to place; to pitch; as, to spread a tent. – Gen. xxxiii.
  4. To cover by extending something; to reach every part. And an unusual paleness spreads her face. – Granville.
  5. To extend; to shoot to a greater length in every direction, so as to fill or cover a wider space. The stately trees fast spread their branches. – Milton.
  6. To divulge; to propagate; to publish; as news or fame; to cause to be more extensively known; as, to spread a report. In this use, the word is often accompanied with abroad. They, when they had departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. – Matth. ix.
  7. To propagate; to cause to affect greater numbers; as, to spread a disease.
  8. To emit; to diffuse; as, emanations or effluvia; as, odoriferous plants spread their fragrance.
  9. To disperse; to scatter over a larger surface; as, to spread manure; to spread plaster or lime on the ground.
  10. To prepare; to set and furnish with provisions; as, to spread a table. God spread a table for the Israelites in the wilderness.
  11. To open; to unfold; to unfurl; to stretch; as, to spread the sails of a ship.


  1. One that spreads, extends, expands, or propagates; as, a spreader of disease. – Hooker.
  2. One that divulges; one that causes to be more generally known; publisher; as, a spreader of news or reports. Swift.


The act of extending, dispersing, or propagating.


  1. Extending; expanding; propagating; divulging; dispersing; diffusing.
  2. adj. Extending or extended over a large space; wide; as, the spreading oak. Governor Winthrop and his associates at Charlestown, had for a church a large spreading tree. B. Trumbull.

SPREE, n.1

A frolick.

SPREE, n.2

A drunken frolic. [1841 Addenda only.]


Sprinkled. [Obs.] [See Sprinkle.] – Spenser.

SPREW, n. [D. spreeuw or spreuuw, the disease called thrush.]

A disease of the mucous membrane, consisting in a specific inflammation of the muciparous glands, with an elevation of the epithelium in round, oval, or irregular, whitish or ash colored vesicles. It is confined to the mouth and alimentary canal, and terminates in curd-like sloughs.

SPRIG, n. [W. ysbrig; ys, a prefix, and brig, top, summit; that is, a shoot, or shooting to a point. Class Brg.]

  1. A small shoot or twig of a tree or other plant; a spray; as, a sprig of laurel or of parsley.
  2. A brad or nail without a head. [Local.]
  3. The representation of a small branch in embroidery.
  4. A small eye-bolt ragged at the point. – Encyc.

SPRIG, v.t.

To mark or adorn with the representation of small branches; to work with sprigs; as, to sprig muslin.


Crystal found in the form of a hexangular column, adhering to the stone, and terminating at the other end in a point. – Woodward.


Wrought with representations of small twigs.


Working with sprigs.


Full of sprigs or small branches.

SPRIGHT, or SPRITE, n. [G. spriet, spirit. It should be written Sprite.]

  1. A spirit; a shade; a soul; an incorporeal agent. Forth he call'd, out of deep darkness dread, / Legions of sprights. – Spenser. And gaping graves receiv'd the guilty spright. – Dryden.
  2. A walking spirit; an apparition. – Locke.
  3. Power which gives cheerfulness or courage. Hold thou my heart, establish thou my sprights. [Not in use.] – Sidney.
  4. An arrow. [Not in use.] – Bacon.


To haunt, as a spright. [Not used.] – Shak.

SPRIGHT-FUL, a. [This word seems to be formed on the root of sprag, a local word, pronounced in America, spry. It belongs to the family of spring and sprig.]

Lively; brisk; nimble; vigorous; gay. Spoke like a sprightly noble gentleman. – Shak. Steeds sprightful as the light. Cowley. [This word is little used in America. We use sprightly in the same sense.]


Briskly; vigorously. – Shak.


Briskness; liveliness; vivacity. – Hummond.


Destitute of life; dull; sluggish; as, virtue's sprightless cold. – Cowley.

SPRIGHT-LI-NESS, n. [from sprightly.]

Liveliness; life; briskness; vigor; activity; gayety; vivacity. In dreams, with what sprightliness and alacrity does the soul exert herself. – Addison.


Lively; brisk; animated; vigorous; airy; gay; as, a sprightly youth; a sprightly air; a sprightly dance. The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green. – Pope. And sprightly wit and love inspires. – Dryden.


  1. A leap; a bound; a jump; as of an animal. The pris'ner with a spring from prison broke. – Dryden.
  2. A flying back; the resilience of a body recovering its former state by its elasticity; as, the spring of a bow.
  3. Elastic power or force. The soul or the mind requires relaxation that it may recover its natural spring. Heav'ns! what a spring was in his arm. – Dryden.
  4. An elastic body; a body which, when bent or forced from its natural state, has the power of recovering it; as, the spring of a watch or clock.
  5. Any active power; that by which action or motion is produced or propagated. Like nature letting down the springs of life. – Dryden. Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move / The hero's glory. – Pope.
  6. A fountain of water; an issue of water from the earth, or the basin of water at the place of its issue. Springs are temporary or perennial. From springs proceed rivulets, and rivulets united form rivers. Lakes and ponds are usually fed by springs.
  7. The place where water usually issues from the earth, though no water is there. Thus we say, a spring is dry.
  8. A source; that from which supplies are drawn. The real Christian has in his own breast a perpetual and inexhaustible spring of joy. The sacred spring whence right and honor stream. – Davies.
  9. Rise; original; as, the spring of the day. – 1 Sam. ix.
  10. Cause; original. The springs of great events are often concealed from common observation.
  11. The season of the year when plants begin to vegetate and rise; the vernal season. This season comprehends the months of March, April, and May, in the middle latitudes north of the equator.
  12. In seamen's language, a crack in a mast or yard, running obliquely or transversely. [In the sense of leak, I believe, it is not used.]
  13. A rope passed out of a ship's stern, and attached to a cable proceeding from her bow, when she is at anchor. It is intended to bring her broadside to bear upon some object. A spring is also a rope extending diagonally from the stern of one ship to the head of another, to make one ship sheer off to a greater distance. – Mar. Dict.
  14. A plant; a shoot; a young tree. [Not in use.] – Spenser.
  15. A youth. [Not in use.] – Spenser.
  16. A hand; a shoulder of pork, [not in use.] – Beaum.