1. To spread and stretch the body or limbs carelessly in a horizontal position; to lie with the limbs stretched out ungracefully.
2. To spread irregularly, as vines, plants, or tress; to spread ungracefully, as chirography.
3. To move, when lying down, with awkward extension and motions of the limbs; to scramble in creeping. The birds were not fledged; but upon sprawling and struggling to get clear of the flame, down they tumbled. (L’Estrange)
Origin: OE. Spraulen; cf. Sw. Sprattla to sprawl, dial. Sw. Spralla, Dan. Spaelle, spraelde, D. Spartelen, spertelen, to flounder, to struggle.