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From Middle English overspreden, from Old English ofersprǣdan, corresponding 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.
    • 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 []
    • 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.