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Origin uncertain; possibly from sprad, an obsolete dialectal past participle of spread;[1] 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),[2] 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).



spraddle (third-person singular simple present spraddles, present participle spraddling, simple past and past participle spraddled) (Canada, Caribbean (West Indies), US)

  1. (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.
  2. (transitive) To spread apart the legs of (someone or something).
  3. (intransitive) To lie, move, or stand with legs spread.

Derived terms[edit]


spraddle (plural spraddles)

  1. A manner of walking with the legs spread out.


  1. ^ spraddle, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1914; “spraddle” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ sprēden, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 28 April 2018.