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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.
  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.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms[edit]

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)