Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “sprawl”


verb [I usually + adv/prep] (CITY)    /sprɔːl/ US  /sprɑːl/ disapproving
(especially of a city) to cover a large area of land with buildings that have been added at different times so that it looks untidy: The refugee camps sprawl across the landscape.Spreading and scattering sprawling     /ˈsprɔː.lɪŋ/ US  /ˈsprɑː-/ adjective sprawling suburbsSpreading and scattering
(Definition of sprawl verb (CITY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of sprawl

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Spreading and scattering, but you might be interested in these topics from the Giving and sharing topic area:

Definitions of “sprawl” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


an ability to do things in the stated, especially positive, way

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More