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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English overspreden, from Old English ofersprǣdan; equivalent to over- +‎ spread. Cognate with Dutch overspreiden (to overspread), German überspreiten (to overspread).



overspread (third-person singular simple present overspreads, present participle overspreading, simple past and past participle overspread)

  1. (transitive) To spread over or across (something); cover over; be scattered over; permeate, overrun.
    Synonym: bespread
    • (Can we date this quote?) Drayton
      those nations of the North which overspread the world
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
      Lady Bellaston fixed her eyes on Sophia whilst she spoke these words. To which that poor young lady, having her face overspread with blushes and confusion, answered, in a stammering voice []
    • 1802, Robert Southey, The Inchcape Rock[1]:
      So thick a haze o’erspreads the sky,    
      They cannot see the sun on high:
      The wind hath blown a gale all day;
      At evening it hath died away.
    • 1913, DH Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, Penguin 2006, p. 289:
      Deliberately, and with a peculiar quivering smile, that seemed to overspread her whole body, she put her mouth on his.
  2. (intransitive) To be spread or scattered about. (Can we add an example for this sense?)