The Past Tense of Spread: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Have you ever got stuck on the correct past tense of the irregular verb spread in English grammar? This article will explain the conjugations of the word spread and also define spread and give you all the information you need about the word in the English language.

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What Is the Definition of the Word Spread?

The word spread is defined as:

Intransitive verb 

  • to become dispersed, distributed, or scattered
    • the fire spread throughout the house
    • the shocking news spread through the town
  • to become known or disseminated 
    • the disease spreads more and more every day
  • to grow in length or breadth: expand
  • to move apart (as from pressure or weight): separate

Transitive verb 

  •  to open or expand over a larger area 
    • spread out the map
  • to stretch out: extend
    • spread its wings for flight
  • to distribute over an area 
    • spread fertilizer
  • to distribute over a period or among a group 
    • spread the work over a few weeks
  • to apply on a surface 
    • spread butter on bread
  • to cover or overlay something with 
    • spread the cloth on the table
  • archaic: to cover completely
  • to prepare or furnish for dining: set
  • spread the table
  • serve
  • spread the afternoon tea
  • to make widely known 
  • spread the news
  • to extend the range or incidence of 
  • spread a disease
  • diffuse, emit
  • flowers spreading their fragrance
  • to push apart by weight or force


  •  the act or process of spreading
  • extent of spreading
  • something spread out: such as
    • a surface area: expanse
    • a ranch or homestead especially in the western U.S.
    • Western US: a herd of animals
    • a prominent display in a periodical
    • two facing pages (as of a newspaper) usually with matter running across the fold
    • also: the matter occupying these pages
  • something spread on or over a surface: such as
    • a food to be spread (as on bread or crackers) 
    • a cheese spread
    • a sumptuous meal: feast
    • a cloth cover for a table or bed
  • The distance between two points: gap
  • a commodities market transaction in which a participant hedges with simultaneous long and short options in different commodities or different delivery dates in the same commodity

What Is the Past Tense of Spread?

The past tense of spread is spread. This would be used in a sentence like: I like the way you spread the peanut butter evenly across the bread. 

How Do You Conjugate Spread?

Here are some verb conjugations of the English verb spread including the past tense:

Infinitive: To spread

Past Participle: Spread

Present Participle: Spreading

Simple Present TenseSimple Past TenseFuture Tense
I spreadspreadAm spreading
You spreadspreadAre spreading
Third-Person he/she/it spreadsspreadIs spreading
We spreadspreadAre spreading
They spreadspreadAre spreading

The History and Origin of the Word

It has been used since at least the 13th century. It came from Old English and was spealed spraedan which was similar to the Old High German spreiten which both meant to spread.

Synonyms of Spread

  • Broadcast 
  • Circulate
  • Disseminate
  • Propagate 
  • Bedcover
  • Bedspread
  • Counterpane 
  • Coverlet

Antonyms include halt, stop, reduce, suppress. 

Example Sentences of the Word in Context


Next time you need to write the word spread, you will be well prepared for everything you need to know what it is and how to use it efficiently within American English. If you’re in ESL, you should feel confident with the different conjugations, the history of the word, and the definition.