to a wide extent.
over a wide space or area: a widely distributed plant.
by or among a large number of persons: a widely known artist.
in many or various subjects, cases, etc.: to be widely read.
greatly, very much, or very: widely differing accounts of an event.

1655–65; wide + -ly

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wide (waɪd)
1.  having a great extent from side to side
2.  of vast size or scope; spacious or extensive
3.  a.  (postpositive) having a specified extent, esp from side to side: two yards wide
 b.  (in combination) covering or extending throughout: nationwide
4.  distant or remote from the desired point, mark, etc: your guess is wide of the mark
5.  (of eyes) opened fully
6.  loose, full, or roomy: wide trousers
7.  exhibiting a considerable spread, as between certain limits: a wide variation
8.  phonetics lax another word for open
9.  over an extensive area: to travel far and wide
10.  to the full extent: he opened the door wide
11.  far from the desired point, mark, etc
12.  (in cricket) a bowled ball that is outside the batsman's reach and scores a run for the batting side
13.  archaic, poetic or a wide space or extent
14.  to the wide completely
[Old English wīd; related to Old Norse vīthr, Old High German wīt]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Although this theory has been widely accepted, finding an actual shock breakout
  was due to extreme serendipity.
Voodoo is widely regarded as a mysterious and sinister practice that's taboo in
  many cultures.
It's hardly news that the world's glaciers are melting-a phenomenon widely
  attributed to gradually rising global temperatures.
Stereographs provided some of the first widely circulated pictures of important
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