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distribute

[dih-strib-yoot] /dɪˈstrɪb yut/
verb (used with object), distributed, distributing.
1.
to divide and give out in shares; deal out; allot.
2.
to disperse through a space or over an area; spread; scatter.
3.
to promote, sell, and ship or deliver (an item or line of merchandise) to individual customers, especially in a specified region or area.
4.
to pass out or deliver (mail, newspapers, etc.) to intended recipients.
5.
to divide into distinct phases:
The process was distributed into three stages.
6.
to divide into classes:
These plants are distributed into 22 classes.
7.
Logic. to employ (a term) in a proposition so as to refer to all individuals denoted by the term.
8.
Physical Chemistry. to dissolve uniformly in a solvent consisting of layers of immiscible or partially miscible substances.
9.
Printing.
  1. to roll out (ink) on the table to attain the proper consistency.
  2. to return (type) to the proper place after printing.
Origin of distribute
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin distribūtus, past participle of distribuere to divide up. See dis-1, tribute
Related forms
distributable, adjective
predistribute, verb (used with object), predistributed, predistributing.
Synonyms
1. assign, mete, apportion. Distribute, dispense apply to giving out something. Distribute implies apportioned, individualized giving, especially of something that is definite or limited in amount or number: The prizes were distributed among ten winners. Dispense formerly implied indiscriminate, general, and liberal giving, especially of something that was more or less indefinite or unmeasured in amount: to dispense largess. It now applies chiefly to giving according to need or deserts, from an organized and official source: to dispense medicines and food to the victims. 6. dispose, sort, arrange, categorize.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for distribute
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some one gave Pambo gold to distribute in alms, and told him to count it.

  • But it is only for genius to order, distribute and compose, in the other.

    A Treatise on the Art of Dancing Giovanni-Andrea Gallini
  • As quickly as possible you must print as many copies as you can, and then distribute them all the winter.

    The Possessed Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • I talk to them as I distribute the boxes, that their attention may not flag.

  • Vane, in the course of the evening, would bring me the money for me to distribute after the performance.

    Paul Kelver Jerome Klapka, AKA Jerome K. Jerome
British Dictionary definitions for distribute

distribute

/dɪˈstrɪbjuːt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to give out in shares; dispense
2.
to hand out or deliver: to distribute handbills
3.
(often passive) to spread throughout a space or area: gulls are distributed along the west coast
4.
(often passive) to divide into classes or categories; classify: these books are distributed in four main categories
5.
(printing) to return (used type) to the correct positions in the type case
6.
(logic) to incorporate in a distributed term of a categorial proposition
7.
(maths, logic) to expand an expression containing two operators in such a way that the precedence of the operators is changed; for example, distributing multiplication over addition in a(b + c) yields ab + ac
8.
(obsolete) to dispense (justice)
Derived Forms
distributable, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin distribuere from dis-1 + tribuere to give
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for distribute
v.

early 15c., "to deal out or apportion," from Latin distributus, past participle of distribuere "to divide, distribute" (see distribution). Related: Distributable; distributed; distributing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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