What is the meaning of 'spread' in the following sentence:

Here we’ve provided a nice charcuterie spread and a healthy selection of vegetables.

  • 2
    The term "cold cuts" is far more common than "charcuteries". Even my spell-checker does not recognize "charcuterie".
    – Jasper
    Sep 21, 2015 at 6:01
  • 1
    @Jasper: That really depends on where you are: "charcuterie" is seen/heard far more often than "cold cuts" in British English.
    – LukeH
    Sep 21, 2015 at 15:08
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    @Jasper, I disagree as a BrEng speaker; I would wonder what "cold cuts" meant without context. I'm familiar with the term charcuterie however, though I'd probably use "cold meats" or "deli meats" more readily Sep 21, 2015 at 15:08
  • 1
    (BrEng here) Cold cuts sounds American, and to me excludes cured meats (Jamón, air-dried sausages etc.) which might be suggested by the more continental charcuterie (no --s, it's a mass noun already execpt in the sense of the shop).
    – Chris H
    Sep 21, 2015 at 15:35
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    @Jasper: I guess some Americans are more willing than others to throw French loan-words into the mix. I can't imagine Frasier Crane passing up an opportunity to say "charcuterie", or Martin Crane neglecting to object and mock him for it. Sep 21, 2015 at 18:07

4 Answers 4


Probably sense 30 of spread here:

Informal. an abundance of food set out on a table; feast.

  • 3
    Wow. I saw this question and thought "well, the answer should be easily found in a dictionary". But when it's definition number 30, I now understand the difficulty in finding the answer!
    – AndyT
    Sep 21, 2015 at 8:47
  • 1
    I think this definition sounds good to me. It allows me to think of "large meal", "a variety of foods", and/or "food spreads on a table". Here is a similar definition given by another dictionary: spread [informal] a large meal with a lot of different dishes to choose from. Sep 21, 2015 at 11:47

charcuterie means cooked meats and spread refers to well prepared food to be enjoyed.

The original paragraph talks about how one hosts a tech meetup. Reading the paragraph, we can relate 'enjoyable and tasty food' to avoid the distraction of those hungry people!

No one should go hungry, least of all when they’re in your care as a meetup host. The golden hour for most meetups is right after work and ends well past dinnertime. Hungry people are easily distracted, so maintaining interest goes hand in hand with keeping appetites satisfied. Here we’ve provided a nice charcuterie spread and a healthy selection of vegetables. Trays of small, non-messy snacks are perfect for sharing with strangers while socializing.


I always associated 'spread' with a large selection distributed so that it takes up an impressive amount of space on the table. So pretty much 'spread out' on the table.


charcuterie spread could alsos be the tentative English translation of the French pâté : "Pâté (UK /ˈpæteɪ/ or US /pɑːˈteɪ/; French pronunciation: ​[pɑte]) is a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste"

  • 2
    I don't think in this context that they're talking about a spread in the sense of a spreadable paste, but rather "an abundant meal laid out on a table". Here's an example bakerbynature.com/summertime-cheese-charcuterie-spread
    – ColleenV
    Sep 22, 2015 at 4:11
  • you are certainly right. Just wanted to add another idea Sep 22, 2015 at 4:34
  • Oh, I see - maybe some explanation of what a "spread" is in that sense would make it clear you're illustrating a different sense of the word. I guess we could probably rule out a coverlet made of meat though ;)
    – ColleenV
    Sep 22, 2015 at 11:57
  • @ColleenV See also the last sentence of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spread_(food) However I agree that in this case the author would probably have said "meat spread" rather than "charcuterie spread". Technically, a pate (or a meat spread) is a charcuterie itself Sep 23, 2015 at 1:52
  • I was suggesting a little more elaboration for the learners that will be reading your answer, not for me :)
    – ColleenV
    Sep 23, 2015 at 1:55

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