v. splayed, splay·ing, splays
1. To spread (the limbs, for example) out or apart: The dog rolled on its back and splayed its legs.
2. To make slanting or sloping; bevel: splayed the edge of the tabletop.
3. To dislocate (a bone). Used of an animal.
1. To be spread out or apart: After work, he splayed out on the couch.
2. To slant or slope.
1. Spread or turned out.
2. Clumsy or clumsily formed; awkward.
An oblique angle or bevel given to the sides of an opening in a wall so that the opening is wider on one side of the wall than on the other.
[Middle English splayen, short for displayen; see DISPLAY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.