Definition of spread-eagle in US English:



[with object]usually be spread-eagled
  • 1Stretch (someone) out with their arms and legs extended.

    ‘he lay spread-eagled in the road’
    • ‘Theo took off his pack and was spreadeagled on a steep, bare rockface before he realised that there was no purchase.’
    • ‘He landed spreadeagled on the crowd and hands reached up and pushed him, bouncing him along on a sea of humanity, until eventually a hand grabbed him and hauled him to the ground.’
    • ‘I'm so relieved and very grateful to S, since he had to spreadeagle himself on my living room floor in his work clothes to do it!’
    • ‘Her arms and legs are spreadeagled on the cool white tiles.’
    • ‘The last time I tried an Indian spa, I had to lie spreadeagled under a tree, as the masseur scoured my body with the sole of his foot.’
    • ‘It is not often that you find yourself lying beneath a tamarind tree, naked and spreadeagled on the ground, with a man in a loincloth massaging you with the Brillo-pad sole of his foot.’
    • ‘The dramatic scene in which armed police ordered the suspects to lie spreadeagled on the concrete was captured by another News of the World photographer and a television crew from BSkyB.’
    • ‘I took a couple more steps, and ended up spreadeagled across the bonnet of a red Golf that had seen the blue lights and stopped in the road behind me.’
    • ‘Rakael struggled violently, metal clashing with metal as she writhed, spreadeagled on a rough block of stone.’
    • ‘The poor quality amateur-looking footage showed two bodies lying spreadeagled in a dusty road next to what looked like a Land Rover.’
    • ‘Reiko bounced once again and landed spreadeagled on her back on the bed.’
    • ‘To stop us scratching we are spreadeagled, tied with bandages at the wrists and ankles to the tubular steel of our bed frames.’
    • ‘Gwen fell back, landing on the floor of the office spreadeagled.’
    • ‘I was spreadeagled on a ratty old couch in the corner of a large room.’
    • ‘She was spreadeagled, breezes carrying musky scents and the reek of sweat across her body and teasing her skin, nipping it with playful fingers that caused her to shiver as she struggled.’
    lying, flat, horizontal, stretched out, sprawled, spreadeagled, reclining, resting, lounging, prone, prostrate, supine
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Skating no object Perform a spread eagle.


  • 1An emblematic representation of an eagle with its legs and wings extended.

    1. 1.1Skating A straight glide made with the feet in a line, with the heels touching, and the arms stretched out to either side.
      • ‘I follow the jump with more choreography, a spread eagle, and a spiral sequence, and a triple axel.’
      • ‘There are inside and outside spread eagles, where you skate on both inside or both outside edges.’
      • ‘The 2002 Olympic bronze medalists opened with side-by-side triple toeloops, followed by nested spread eagles into a lift, albeit marred by a small bobble and a bit of sluggishness.’
      • ‘I want aerials, spread eagles, toe touches, and anything else you can think of.’


  • 1Stretched out with one's arms and legs extended.

    ‘prisoners are chained to their beds, spread-eagle, for days at a time’
    • ‘He lay there, spread eagle, waiting, mindless of the heat pouring off of the sand.’
    • ‘She lay on her stomach spread eagle, head titled to the side, face contorted in pain.’
    • ‘She was lying on her bed, spread eagle on her stomach.’
    • ‘She was standing there chained to the wall spread eagle in nothing but her underwear.’
    • ‘I was walking one moment and in a quick phase of pain I was on the floor spread eagle not moving wondering what the hell I was doing.’
    • ‘Sighing in defeat he dropped on the bed, collapsing, flopping onto the bed, spread eagle, arms and legs splayed everywhere.’
    • ‘Now she was spread eagle on the table; face up, staring into the bright lights, cold metal clamps holding her down, immobilizing her arms, head, chest and legs.’
    • ‘She rolled her eyes and fell back into her bunk, spread eagle, so she would take up all the room.’
    • ‘Laying flat on my stomach, spread eagle and staring out the window on the opposite wall, I thought some more.’
    • ‘It took her nearly half the lunch period to find him; he was holed up underneath the bleachers by the football field, sprawled spread eagle on the dying grass.’
    • ‘The figures finally collapsed, spread eagle on the floor in front of their chairs.’
    • ‘From what I could tell I was spread eagle on the ground although I really couldn't move my arms or legs.’
    • ‘There in front of the door, lying spread eagle on the floor, was Terrance Volrath.’
    • ‘He gave me a long, contemplating look before his face cracked into a smirk and he flipped over on his back, laying spread eagle across the bed.’
    • ‘When she returned, Michael lay spread eagle on the over-sized bed, the lower half of his body partially covered by flowered sheets.’
    • ‘Shep instantly flattened himself on the ground spread eagle.’
  • 2dated Loudly or aggressively patriotic about the US.

    ‘spread-eagle oratory’