Origin uncertain; possibly from sprad, an obsolete dialectal past participle of spread; or a blend of sprawl + straddle or spread + straddle, or perhaps from Middle English *spraddelen; a frequentative form of Middle English spradden, spraden, sprēden (“to lay flat, spread; to distribute, scatter, sow”), from Old English sprǣdan (“to expand, spread; to outspread, stretch forth”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *(s)per- (“to sow, sprinkle, strew”), equivalent to spread + -le. Compare also dialectal Norwegian spradla (“to flail, squirm, thrash about”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈspɹad(ə)l/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈspɹadl̩/
- Hyphenation: sprad‧dle
- (transitive) To spread apart (the legs). [from c. 1625–1635]
- 1988, David Quammen, “Faces Unlike Ours”, in The Flight of the Iguana: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature, New York, N.Y.: Delacorte Press, →ISBN; Scribner trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Scribner, 2004, →ISBN, page 46:
- [T]hey [scorpions] rely on pressure-sensing organs near the ends of each of their eight walking legs to detect subtle shock waves that propagate outwards, even through sand, when another creature passes by on the desert floor. According to [Philip H.] Brownell, the scorpion orients itself toward the focus of any such disturbance by gauging the minuscule differences in the times at which the shock wave reaches each of its eight spraddled legs.
- (transitive) To spread apart the legs of (someone or something).
- 1976, Forrest Carter [pseudonym; Asa Earl Carter], The Education of Little Tree, New York, N.Y.: Delacorte Press, →ISBN; paperback edition, Albuquerque, N.M.: University of New Mexico Press, 2004, →ISBN, page 112:
- She brought the quail back, and while it was still alive, she split it from breastbone to tail, and spraddled it, kicking, over Granpa's snake bite. She held the kicking quail on Granpa's hand for a long time, and when she took it off, the quail had turned green all over its inside.
- (intransitive) To lie, move, or stand with legs spread.
- 1898 November, Stephen Crane, “His New Mittens”, in The Cornhill Magazine, volume V, number 29 (New Series), London: Smith, Elder & Co., 15 Waterloo Place, OCLC 561748243, chapter II, page 634:
- Horace slunk into the kitchen. The stove, spraddling out on its four iron legs, was gently humming. Aunt Martha had evidently just lighted the lamp, for she went to it and began to twist the wick experimentally.
- 1911 June, Jack London, “The First Landfall”, in The Cruise of the Snark, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, OCLC 1619565, page 69:
- I spraddled along the wharf and nearly fell into the water. I glanced at Charmian, and the way she walked made me sad. The wharf had all the seeming of a ship's deck. It lifted, tilted, heaved and sank; and since there were no handrails on it, it kept Charmian and me busy avoiding falling in.
- 1917, T[homas] S[igismund] Stribling, “The Dry Dock”, in The Cruise of the Dry Dock, Chicago, Ill.: The Reilly & Britton Co., OCLC 4208927, pages 20–21:
- This soothed the irascible fellow somewhat. Still glowering, he spraddled out of the cabin with the boys after him, and presently indicated one of the small temporary cabins with a jerk of his thumb.
- 1935 December, Robert E[rvin] Howard, “The Apache Mountain War”, in Action Stories, New York, N.Y.: Fiction House, OCLC 645141938; republished as The Second Western Megapack: 25 Classic Western Stories, [Rockville, Md.]: Wildside Press, 2013, →ISBN, page 419:
- "He wouldn't if he knowed what I knowed," I opined, because I'd thought up a way to git Cousin Buckner out of the way that night. "He'd be headin' for Wolf Canyon fast as he could spraddle. I just met Harry Braxton with a pack-mule headin' for there."
spraddle (plural spraddles)