spread Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “spread” in the English Dictionary

"spread" in British English

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spreadverb [I or T]

uk   us   /spred/ (spread)
B2 to (​cause to) ​cover, ​reach, or have an ​effect on a ​wider or ​increasingarea: The ​fire spread very ​rapidly because of the ​strongwind. It ​started off as ​cancer of the ​liver but it spread to other ​areas of the ​body. The ​redundancies are spread across the ​banking and ​buildingindustries. We spread the ​picnicrug out on the ​ground and ​sat down to ​eat. The ​virus is spread (= given to other ​people) through ​contact with ​blood and other ​bodyfluids. Are you spreading (= ​telling a lot of ​people) gossip/​rumours again? If we spread (= ​divide) the ​work between us, it won't ​seem so ​bad. She spread her ​toast with a ​thicklayer of ​butter./She spread a ​thicklayer of ​butter on her ​toast. It's a ​specialsort of ​butter that spreads ​easilyeven when ​cold. The ​suburbs spread (out) for ​miles to either ​side of the ​city. Slowly a ​smile spread ​across her ​face.

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uk   us   /spred/
  • spread noun (AREA COVERED)

B2 [S] the ​development or ​growth of something so that it ​covers a ​largerarea or ​affects a ​largernumber of ​people: The spread of the ​disease in the last few ​years has been ​alarming. [S] the ​area or ​rangecovered by something: The ​surveyfound awide spread of ​opinion over the ​proposed new ​building. [C] a ​largearticle or ​advertisementcovering one or more ​pages in a ​newspaper or ​magazine: There's a double-page spread on the ​latestfashions.

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  • spread noun (SOFT FOOD)

[C or U] a ​softfood for putting on ​bread and ​biscuits: cheese/​chocolate/​fish spread There's ​bread and ​various spreads for ​tea.
  • spread noun (LAND)

US [C] a ranch or other ​largearea of ​land or ​water
  • spread noun (MEAL)

[C] UK old-fashioned or US a ​meal, ​especially one for a ​specialoccasion with a lot of different ​dishesarranged on a ​table: Sheila laid on (= made) a ​magnificent spread for us.
(Definition of spread from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"spread" in American English

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spreadverb [I/T]

 us   /spred/
  • spread verb [I/T] (COVER)

(past tense and past participle spread) to ​cover or ​cause something to ​cover an ​object or an ​area: [T] Pianist Eubie Blake could spread his ​fingers over 20 ​keys. [M] She spread out the ​tablecloth. [I] I had ​toast spread with ​strawberryjam. [I] A ​strangelook spread over his ​face.
  • spread verb [I/T] (MOVE)

to move from one ​place to another, or to ​cause something to move or be ​communicated: [I] The ​flamesquickly spread to the next ​room. [I] Obesity is spreading in many ​countries. [I] Doctors ​fear the ​cancer may spread to other ​organs. [T] She’s been spreading ​lies about him. [T] Neighbors have been spreading the word (= ​communicatinginformation) about the ​proposedbuildingproject.


 us   /spred/
  • spread noun (MOVEMENT)

[U] the ​process of ​moving to ​cover a ​largerarea or to ​affect a ​largernumber of ​people: Jazz ​recordsfostered the spread of American ​culture. More should be done to ​stop the spread of this ​disease.
  • spread noun (COVER)

[C] A spread is a ​cover for a ​bed. [C] A spread is also a ​softfood put on ​bread or other ​food: a ​cheese spread [C] A spread is also a ​meal, esp. one with a lot of different ​foodsarranged on a ​table: This is ​quite a spread.
(Definition of spread from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"spread" in Business English

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uk   us   /spred/
[C] STOCK MARKET, FINANCE the difference between a trader’s ​buyingprice and ​sellingprice for particular ​shares, ​currencies, etc.
[C] FINANCE the difference between two ​interestrates : a spread of sth The ​issue was ​priced at a spread of 115 ​basispoints above Treasury ​bonds.
[S] a ​number of different things or ​people: If you do not need immediate ​access to your ​money, why not ​diversify into a wider spread of ​investments? a geographic/​demographic spread
[S or U] an ​increase in ​effect or ​influence, so that something affects more ​people or ​places: the spread of sth Corporations have a crucial ​influence on the ​global spread of a homogenized ​culture.
[S] the different ​areas or ​numbers of ​people that are affected by something: Given the ​size and spread of the American ​economy, the whole ​world has an ​economicinterest in the US.
[C] MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS an ​advertisement or ​article in a ​newspaper or ​magazine that ​covers two ​pages that are ​opposite each other: a double-page spreada spread on sth A ​magazine for Japanese businesspeople recently did a spread on the ​resort.
See also


uk   us   /spred/ (spread, spread)
[I or T] to affect more ​people or different ​areas, or to make something do this: In the ​fall of 2007, the ​subprimelendingcrisis really began to spread. High ​oilprices can spread ​inflation throughout the ​economy if ​companies decide to ​boost the ​prices of many other ​goods and ​services.spread through/across/around sth A ​recruitmentcrisis is ​currently spreading through the ​publicsector.spread to Job ​cuts are spreading to ​bigmanufacturers.
[T] to ​share something among a ​group of ​people or things, so that no one ​person or thing has too much: spread the costs/risks/load Include different ​types of income-yielding ​investments in your ​portfolio in ​order to spread the ​risk.
[I or T] to ​cover a particular ​area or a ​number of different ​areas, or to make something or someone do this: be spread over/throughout/across sth The ​companyemploys 2,100 ​people spread over five ​locations.
spread payments/repayments/costs FINANCE to make ​regularpayments towards the ​totalcost of something, usually for a ​period of months or ​years: Repayments can be spread over two ​years.
spread the word/message to tell other ​people about something, especially something new, and say whether you ​think it is good or ​bad: Satisfied ​customers who spread the word ​play a ​bigpart in ​establishing the ​reputation of a ​brand.
(Definition of spread from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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