Etymology
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distribution (n.)

mid-14c., distribucioun, "act of dividing or parceling out," from Old French distribution (13c.) and directly from Latin distributionem (nominative distributio) "a division, distribution," noun of action from past-participle stem of distribuere "to divide, deal out in portions," from dis- "individually" (see dis-) + tribuere "to pay, assign, grant," also "allot among the tribes or to a tribe," from tribus (see tribe).

Meaning "that which is distributed or apportioned" is from late 14c. Sense of "act of spreading out as over a surface" is from 1580s. Related: Distributional (1804).

updated on September 09, 2018

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Definitions of distribution from WordNet

distribution (n.)
(statistics) an arrangement of values of a variable showing their observed or theoretical frequency of occurrence;
Synonyms: statistical distribution
distribution (n.)
the spatial or geographic property of being scattered about over a range, area, or volume;
in complementary distribution
the distribution of nerve fibers
worldwide in distribution
Synonyms: dispersion
distribution (n.)
the act of distributing or spreading or apportioning;
distribution (n.)
the commercial activity of transporting and selling goods from a producer to a consumer;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.