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spread it on thick

To exaggerate, aggrandize, or overstate some emotional experience, response, or appeal, such as blame, praise, flattery, excuses, etc. Jim carries on as though flattering the boss will get him a promotion, so he's always spreading it on thick for her. OK, Bob, I think Mary understands the trouble she's in, no need to spread it on so thick.
See also: on, spread, thick

middle-aged spread

Weight that accumulates around a person's midsection due to a decrease in metabolism caused by aging. Barry suddenly started dieting and exercising to prevent the middle-aged spread.
See also: spread

spark spread

The income made by selling electricity, after the cost of the fuel used to produce the electricity has been subtracted. We need to analyze the spark spread, to determine if the electrical plant can stay open.
See also: spark, spread

spread far and wide

To disseminate or be disseminated on a large scale, especially to a large number of people. Well, that rumor about me has sure spread far and wide—even the teachers know about it! The government wants to keep this scandal a secret, which means we need to make sure it spreads far and wide. Western commercial culture has spread far and wide, and you can now find fast food restaurants in every corner of the globe.
See also: and, far, spread, wide

all over

1. Crowding, covering, or in close proximity to something, especially in a way that is unwanted or unexpected. In this usage, "all over" is followed by a person. I had barely walked in the door when reporters were all over me for a story.
2. Scattered in many locations in a particular area or place. How can anyone sit down when your clothes are all over the room? How did you not know about the show? There were posters all over campus.
3. Done. Often said when an outcome is no longer possible. It's all over—there's no way we'll score a goal to tie it in the last seconds. The party's all over now—people started leaving an hour ago. It's all over with me and Diane. We just fought too much.
See also: all

lay it on thick

To exaggerate, overembellish, or overstate some emotional experience, response, or appeal, such as blame, praise, flattery, excuses, etc. Jim carries on as though flattering the boss will get him a promotion, so he's always laying it on thick for her. Bob, I think Mary understands the trouble she's in, no need to lay it on so thick. News of the bailout has laid the turbulent markets at rest, at least for the time being.
See also: lay, on, thick

spread (one's) wings

To start to use one's talents or abilities, or to start to experience new things for the first time. Likened to a bird opening its wings before starting to fly. I know if you just spread your wings, you'll be a really successful writer. But you have to start taking it seriously. Now that I'm finished school, I feel like I really want to spread my swings and see what's out there for me.
See also: spread, wing

spread the word

To disseminate information through word of mouth. Hey, the game is canceled due to the rain—spread the word.
See also: spread, word

spread (oneself) thin

1. To take on too many tasks or responsibilities. I'm sorry, but I can't take on another tutoring job this semester—I've already spread myself too thin.
2. To lack in resources. If we take on another tutoring job while so many tutors are out sick already, we'll be spreading ourselves too thin.
See also: spread, thin

all over

 
1. and (all) over with finished. Dinner is all over. I'm sorry you didn't get any. It's all over. He's dead now.
2. everywhere. Oh, I just itch all over. She's spreading the rumor all over.
See also: all

*all over (some place)

found in every place; available in all locations. (*Typically: be ~; Spread ~.) The window shattered and shards of glass were all over the place. There are ants all over the cake!
See also: all

lay it on thick

 and lay it on with a trowel; pour it on thick; spread it on thick
Fig. to exaggerate or over-state praise, excuses, or blame. Sally was laying it on thick when she said that Tom was the best singer she had ever heard. After Bob finished making his excuses, Sally said that he was pouring it on thick. Bob always spreads it on thick.
See also: lay, on, thick

spread all over

(some place) Go to all over (some place). spread it on thick Go to lay it on thick.
See also: all, spread

spread like wildfire

Fig. [for something] to spread rapidly. Rumors spread like wildfire when people are excited. This disease will spread like wildfire when it gets going.
See also: like, spread, wildfire

spread oneself too thin

Fig. to do so many things at one time that you can do none of them well. It's a good idea to get involved in a lot of activities, but don't spread yourself too thin. I'm too busy these days. I'm afraid I've spread myself too thin.
See also: spread, thin

spread out

to separate and distribute over a wide area. The sheriff told the members of the posse to spread out and continue their search. The wine spread out and stained a large area of the carpet.
See also: out, spread

spread over someone or something

[for something] to cover someone or something gradually. The shade slowly spread over the picnickers. Dusk spread its final shadows over the land.
See also: spread

spread someone or something around

to distribute people or things over an area. Spread the good singers around so they can help the others in the choir. Liz spread around the seeds so they would dry.
See also: around, spread

spread something around

to distribute news or gossip. Please don't spread this around, but Don ran away from home! Don't spread around that story!
See also: around, spread

spread something on thick

 
1. to distribute a thick layer of something. This paint will cover well if you spread it on thick. If you spread the paint on thick, you will only need one coat.
2. Go to lay it on thick.
See also: on, spread, thick

spread something onto something

 and spread something on
to distribute a coating of something onto something. Spread the butter onto the bread evenly. Spread on the butter evenly. Donna spread the paint on with a roller.
See also: spread

spread something out

to open, unfold, or lay something over a wider area. Spread the wet papers out so they will dry. She spread out the papers to dry them.
See also: out, spread

spread something over someone or something

to cause something to cover or be distributed over someone or something. The cloud spread its shadow over everyone at the picnic. We spread fertilizer over the prepared ground. He spread the work over a few weeks.
See also: spread

spread something under someone or something

to extend or unfold something, such as a tarpaulin, beneath someone or something. Please spread some newspapers under Jimmy while he is working this clay. Would you spread some newspapers under your work, please?
See also: spread

spread something with something

to cover something with a coat of something. Using the roller, Judy spread the wall with a thick coat of pink paint. Spread the lasagna with a layer of cheese mixture and cover that with another layer of lasagna.
See also: spread

spread the word

to tell many people some kind of information. I need to spread the word that the meeting is canceled for this afternoon.
See also: spread, word

spread to someone or something

to expand or extend to reach someone or something. The epidemic finally spread to me and my family. The business slowdown spread to the West Coast.
See also: spread

all over

1. Everywhere. The phrase may be used alone, as in I've looked all over for that book, or The very thought of poison ivy makes me itch all over. In addition it can be used as a preposition, meaning "throughout," as in The news spread all over town. [Early 1600s] Also see far and wide.
2. In all respects, as in He is his Aunt Mary all over. Charles Lamb had this usage in a letter (1799) about a poem: "The last lines ... are Burns all over." [Early 1700s]
3. Also, all over again. Again from the beginning. For example, They're going to play the piece all over, or Do you mean you're starting all over again? [Mid-1500s]
4. Also, all over with. Quite finished, completed, as in By the time I arrived the game was all over, or Now that she passed the test, her problems are all over with. This phrase uses over in the sense of "finished," a usage dating from the 1300s. Also see all over but the shouting; have it (all over), def. 4.
See also: all

lay it on thick

Also, lay it on with a trowel. Exaggerate, overstate; also, flatter effusively. For example, Jane laid it on thick when she said this was the greatest book she'd ever read, or Tom thought he'd get the senator to waive the speaker's fee if he just laid it on with a trowel . This idiom alludes to applying a thick coat of paint or plaster. [c. 1600]
See also: lay, on, thick

spread like wildfire

Disseminate or circulate very quickly, as in The rumor about their divorce spread like wildfire. The noun wildfire means "a raging, rapidly spreading conflagration." [c. 1800]
See also: like, spread, wildfire

spread oneself too thin

Overextend oneself, undertake too many different enterprises. For example, Tom's exhausted; what with work, volunteer activities, and social life he's spread himself too thin . This expression alludes to smearing something (like butter on bread) in such a thin layer that it does not cover the surface. Jonathan Swift used spread thin in a positive sense, that is, something should occur less often ( Polite Conversation, 1731-1738): "They [polite speeches] ought to be husbanded better, and spread much thinner."
See also: spread, thin

spread yourself too thin

If you spread yourself too thin, you try to do too many different things at the same time, with the result that you cannot do any of them well. At the time I was spreading myself too thin, with lots of different projects. Note: Other adverbs can be used instead of too. `There are 80 of us taking care of 117 departments.' — `Isn't that spreading yourself a little thin?' Note: You can also say that a person or organization spreads themselves too thinly. Like so many businesses, the company grew too fast and spread itself too thinly across too many different areas.
See also: spread, thin

lay it on thick

INFORMAL
If you lay it on thick, you try to make something seem more important than it really is when you talk or write about it. Gerhardt explained the position to the Press Officer, laying it on thick about Adrian Winter's importance. Ask someone to tell him how good you are at your job. Get them to lay it on thick. Compare with lay it on with a trowel.
See also: lay, on, thick

spread like wildfire

COMMON If something, especially information or a disease, spreads like wildfire, it very quickly reaches or affects a lot of people. The news of his release spread like wildfire. These stories were spreading like wildfire through the neighbourhood. The virus swept through the team like wildfire. Note: This expression may refer to the way that fires which start in the countryside spread very quickly and are difficult to control.
See also: like, spread, wildfire

spread your wings

COMMON If you spread your wings, you start to do new or more interesting things. Michelle has been in the show since she left school and feels like she needs to spread her wings. I was 23 and still living with my parents. I just felt it was time to spread my wings.
See also: spread, wing

spread out

v.
1. To open something to a fuller extent or width; stretch something out: The bat spread out its wings and flew through the cave. We spread the blanket out and sat down for a picnic.
2. To be extended or enlarged: The butter spread out across the pan as it melted. The bird's wings spread out to a span of ten feet.
3. To make wider the gap between some things or people; move some things or people farther apart: Your hand can cover the hole if you spread out your fingers. The instructor spread the dancers out across the floor.
4. To become distributed or widely dispersed: The cracks spread out across the windshield. We spread out to search the field.
5. To distribute something over a surface in a layer: The chef spread out the frosting with a spatula. Start by applying a splotch of paint to the wall, and spread it out with a fine brush.
6. To make a wide or extensive arrangement of something: The magician spread out the cards and asked us to choose one. We spread the bicycle parts out on the floor.
7. To be exhibited, displayed, or visible in broad or full extent: The prairie spread out in front of the pioneers.
8. To display the full extent of something. Used in the passive: The vast landscape was spread out before us.
See also: out, spread

all over

1. Completely ended or finished: Their marriage is all over.
2. In every part; everywhere: The storm swept across the island and left damage all over.
3. Typical of the person or thing just mentioned: Making wisecracks like that—that's Jim all over.
4. Showing much romantic interest or being in close contact: He was all over her during the slow dance.
5. Persistently or harshly critical or scolding: The coach was all over me about missing practice.
See also: all

lay it on thick

Informal
To exaggerate or overstate something.
See also: lay, on, thick

spread (oneself) thin

To work on too many projects: overextend oneself.
See also: spread, thin
References in classic literature ?
The ground of the University was hilly; Mount Sainte- Geneviève formed an enormous mound to the south; and it was a sight to see from the summit of Notre-Dame how that throng of narrow and tortuous streets (to-day the Latin Quarter), those bunches of houses which, spread out in every direction from the top of this eminence, precipitated themselves in disorder, and almost perpendicularly down its flanks, nearly to the water's edge, having the air, some of falling, others of clambering up again, and all of holding to one another.
Continuing to mount the stories of this amphitheatre of palaces spread out afar upon the ground, after crossing a deep ravine hollowed out of the roofs in the Town, which marked the passage of the Rue Saint-Antoine, the eye reached the house of Angoulême, a vast construction of many epochs, where there were perfectly new and very white parts, which melted no better into the whole than a red patch on a blue doublet.
spread out, with rich compartments of verdure and of flowers, a velvet carpet of cultivated land and royal parks, in the midst of which one recognized, by its labyrinth of trees and alleys, the famous Daedalus garden which Louis XI.
Dickon's grin spread until he seemed all wide, red, curving mouth, and he rubbed his rough head.
As for mercenary forces (which is the help in this case), all examples show, that whatsoever estate or prince doth rest upon them, he may spread his feathers for a time, but he will mew them soon after.
And putting both constitutions together, you will say that it was not the Romans that spread upon the world, but it was the world that spread upon the Romans; and that was the sure way of greatness.
With his head bent, and his big feet spread apart, he began explaining his reasons for thinking the abbe's plan chimerical.
Tip now lifted both hands above his head, with all the fingers and thumbs spread out, and cried in a loud voice: "Peaugh
The mother left with her son, and a month later the boy recovered, and the fame of the holy healing power of the starets Sergius (as they now called him) spread throughout the whole district.
A pail had been upset and water spread in all directions.
The plan was adopted, the necessary treaty made, with legislation to carry out its provisions; the Madagascarene Philosopher took his seat in the Temple of Immortality, and Peace spread her white wings over the two nations, to the unspeakable defiling of her plumage.
A local variety when once thus formed might subsequently slowly spread to other districts.
Each new form, also, as soon as it has been much improved, will be able to spread over the open and continuous area, and will thus come into competition with many others.
I conclude, looking to the future, that for terrestrial productions a large continental area, which will probably undergo many oscillations of level, and which consequently will exist for long periods in a broken condition, will be the most favourable for the production of many new forms of life, likely to endure long and to spread widely.
The blue smoke of wood fires spread in a thin mist above the high-pitched roofs of houses that had glistening walls of woven reeds, and all round them rough wooden pillars under the sloping eaves.