To open to a fuller extent or width; stretch: spread out the tablecloth; a bird spreading its wings. To make wider the gap between; move farther apart: spread her fingers. To distribute over a surface in a layer: spread varnish on the steps. To cover with a layer: spread a cracker with butter. To distribute widely: The tornado spread destruction. To make a wide or extensive arrangement of: We spread the bicycle parts out on the floor. To exhibit or display the full extent of: the scene that was spread before us. To cause to become widely seen or known; scatter or disseminate: spread the news; spread the beam of the flashlight. To prepare (a table) for eating; set. To arrange (food or a meal) on a table. To flatten (a rivet end, for example) by pounding. To be extended or enlarged. To become distributed or widely dispersed. To increase in range of occurrence; become known or prevalent over a wide area: The word spread fast. To be exhibited, displayed, or visible in broad or full extent: the vista spread seemingly to infinity. To become or admit of being distributed in a layer. To become separated; be forced farther apart. The act of spreading. Dissemination, as of news; diffusion. An open area of land; an expanse. A ranch, a farm, or an estate. The extent or limit to which something is or can be spread; range. A cloth covering for a bed, table, or other piece of furniture. Informal An abundant meal laid out on a table. A food to be spread on bread or crackers.