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)
- (transitive) To spread over or across (something); cover over; be scattered over; permeate, overrun.
- Synonym: bespread
1612, Michael Drayton, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [John Selden], editor, Poly-Olbion. Or A Chorographicall Description of Tracts, Riuers, Mountaines, Forests, and Other Parts of this Renowned Isle of Great Britaine, […], London: […] H[umphrey] L[ownes] for Mathew Lownes; I. Browne; I. Helme; I. Busbie, published 1613, OCLC 1049089293:
- 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:
- 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.
- (intransitive) To be spread or scattered about. (Can we add an example for this sense?)