1. To distribute some substance evenly over the surface of something or some area. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "spread" and "all over." Try to spread the icing around as evenly as you can with a spatula. We'll have to use rakes to spread the manure around the whole field.
2. To move across and cover some area; to be distributed or dispersed around (some place). The investigators began spreading around the site of the accident to determine what had happened. The infectious disease spread around the globe faster than anyone had predicted.
3. Of information, to disseminate around (some area or place). News of the CEO's affair spread around the office in a matter of hours. There are rumors spreading around that the government is on the brink of collapse.
4. To disseminate information around (some area or place). In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "spread" and "around." She's been spreading gossip around to discredit her rival. Horse-mounted messengers were sent to spread the king's announcement around the region.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.