Also called layout. Journalism. (in newspapers and magazines) an extensive, varied treatment of a subject, consisting primarily either of a number of cuts (picture spread) or of a major story and several supplementary stories, usually extending across three or more columns.
c.1200, "to stretch out, to send in various directions," probably from O.E. -sprædan (especially in tosprædan "to spread out," and gesprædung "spreading"), from P.Gmc. *spraidijanan (cf. Dan. sprede, O.Swed. spreda, M.Du. spreiden, O.H.G., Ger. spreiten "to spread"), probably from PIE *sper- "to strew" (see sprout). Reflexive sense of "to extend, expand" is attested from mid-14c.
1691, "extent or expanse of something," from spread (v.). Meaning "copious meal" dates from 1822; sense of "food for spreading" (butter, jam, etc.) is from 1812. Sense of "bed cover" is recorded from 1848, originally Amer.Eng. Meaning "degree of variation" is attested from 1929. Spreadsheet is first attested 1982. Meaning "ranch for raising cattle" is attested from 1927.