verb (used without object)
to be stretched or spread out in an unnatural or ungraceful manner: The puppy's legs sprawled in all directions.
to sit or lie in a relaxed position with the limbs spread out carelessly or ungracefully: He sprawled across the bed.
to spread out, extend, or be distributed in a straggling or irregular manner, as vines, buildings, handwriting, etc.
to crawl awkwardly with the aid of all the limbs; scramble.
verb (used with object)
to stretch out (the limbs) as in sprawling.
to spread out or distribute in a straggling manner.
the act or an instance of sprawling; a sprawling posture.
a straggling array of something.

before 1000; Middle English spraulen to move awkwardly, Old English spreawlian; cognate with Frisian (N dial.) spraweli

sprawler, noun
sprawlingly, adverb

3. straggle, branch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sprawl (sprɔːl)
1.  (intr) to sit or lie in an ungainly manner with one's limbs spread out
2.  to fall down or knock down with the limbs spread out in an ungainly way
3.  to spread out or cause to spread out in a straggling fashion: his handwriting sprawled all over the paper
4.  the act or an instance of sprawling
5.  a sprawling posture or arrangement of items
6.  a.  the urban area formed by the expansion of a town or city into surrounding countryside: the urban sprawl
 b.  the process by which this has happened
[Old English spreawlian; related to Old English spryttan to sprout, spurt, Greek speirein to scatter]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. spreawlian "move convulsively," with cognates in the Scand. languages and N.Fris. spraweli, probably ult. from PIE base *sper- "to strew" (see sprout). Meaning "to spread or stretch in a careless manner" is attested from 1540s; of things, from 1745. The noun is first
attested 1719; meaning "straggling expansion of built-up districts into surrounding countryside" is from 1955.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Sprawling blooms of cyanobacteria have swathed the surfaces of lakes and oceans
  around the world for billions of years.
It's a sprawling marsh and bog-prime bird habitat-with a spruce-tamarack forest
  and some prairie areas.
Lots of farms being converted to sprawling developments in areas that used to
  be way out in the boonies.
Sprawling suburban areas differ from traditional cities in a number of
  important ways.
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