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PIE word

From Latin distributus, past participle of distribuere (to divide, distribute), from dis- (apart) + tribuere (to give, impart); see tribute.



distribute (third-person singular simple present distributes, present participle distributing, simple past and past participle distributed)

  1. (transitive) To divide into portions and dispense.
    He distributed the bread amongst his followers.
  2. (transitive) To supply to retail outlets.
    The agency distributes newspapers to local shops.
  3. (transitive) To deliver or pass out.
    A network of children distributes flyers to every house.
    • 1960 December, “The Glasgow Suburban Electrification is opened”, in Trains Illustrated, page 714:
      Above all, the 48-page timetables of the new service, which have been distributed free at every station in the scheme, are a model to the rest of B.R. For the first time on British Railways, so far as we are aware, a substantial timetable has been produced, not only without a single footnote but also devoid of all wearisome asterisks, stars, letter suffixes and other hieroglyphics.
  4. (transitive) To scatter or spread.
    I raked the soil then distributed grass seed.
  5. (transitive) To apportion (more or less evenly).
    The robot's six legs distributed its weight over a wide area.
  6. (transitive) To classify or separate into categories.
    The database distributed verbs into transitive and intransitive segments.
  7. (intransitive, mathematics) To be distributive.
  8. (printing) To separate (type which has been used) and return it to the proper boxes in the cases.
  9. (printing) To spread (ink) evenly, as upon a roller or a table.
  10. (logic) To employ (a term) in its whole extent; to take as universal in one premise.
    • 1826, Richard Whately, Elements of Logic:
      A term is said to be distributed when it is taken universal, so as to stand for everything it is capable of being applied to.
  11. (business) To have employees working remotely from multiple locations.
    distributed business; distributed employee



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]




From distribūtus, participle of distribuō (distribute, apportion).


distribūtē (comparative distribūtius, superlative distribūtissimē)

  1. orderly, methodically

Related terms[edit]


  • distribute”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, 1st edition. (Oxford University Press)