In its probably original sense, to share means to divide something among people. In those cases, it is implicit that the sharer is left with less than before:

I had three apples, which I shared with two of my friends. Now I'm left with just one apple.

Another example would be the stock market, where you can essentially buy a part ("share") of a company.

Now, especially with modern technology, it became possible to share immaterial goods where in the end, both (all) parties have a copy of the exact same thing:

People voluntarily share their knowledge on Stack Exchange sites.

In less than an hour, a thousand users shared that image on Facebook.

The fact that people shared their music on the Internet led to a big controversy about copyright law.

In these cases, it is implied that some sort of copying/duplication took place and either way, the sharer has not physically given away what he/she was sharing.

When using divide instead of share, it is implied that the original items, or at least some of them, are given away:

Separate (something) into portions and share out among a number of people:
'Jack divided up the rest of the cash'

In a similar way, is there a verb that can be used instead of to share that explicitly describes sharing something without giving it away?

  • 1
    You may "pool" or "mutualize" resources or ideas.
    – Graffito
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 14:31
  • The premise here is false. Sharing does not imply the sharer having less than before. People have always shared ideas, knowledge, information, stories, experiences, etc. without losing anything. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 1:16
  • @RoaringFish Look at it the other way round: They might have "shared" their knowledge, but they certainly didn't "divide" their knowledge. The verb "divide" cannot be applied when nothing is given away. Now, is there a word X that cannot be applied when something is given away? Could you "socialize", "disseminate", "post", "broadcast" or "publicize" a number of apples (to try some of the examples suggested by other answers)?
    – tmh
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 7:50
  • @tmh ~ yes, there is a word - share. Why are you so opposed to using it? The reason I say your premise is wrong is that share says nothing about losing or not losing anything. There is simply no need to coin a new word - share already covers it. Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 4:22
  • Oddly enough (given the root word part that it is built on), the verb impart seems to satisfy your requirements. Merriam-Webster gives two definitions for it: "(1) to give, convey, or grant from or as if from a store {her experience imparted authority to her words} {the flavor imparted by herbs}; (2) to communicate the knowledge of: DISCLOSE {imparted my scheme to no one}." The second meaning seems to be exactly what you're looking for, and even the first definition can be understood in the desired way with reference to things shared without loss.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 21:24

6 Answers 6


I disagree with your premise. To share does not mean, necessarily, to lose something.

Let's consult the Wikipedia page on Sharing:

Sharing is the joint use of a resource or space.

And of course, in recent times, the term "P2P sharing" has been popularized.

Peer-to-peer file sharing is the distribution and sharing of digital media using peer-to-peer (P2P) networking technology.

Even before there was any of this technology, individuals still shared stories and shared a good laugh—all without having divided one material resource and transferring it to another.

So, the verb that describes sharing something without losing it...is sharing.

  • Indeed, it can be argued that, especially in recent times, "to share" covers both meanings (sharing "with and without losing"). The examples in my original posting also reflect that. However, I'm asking if there is a verb that more specifically addreses the "sharing without losing" aspect, implying that a copy/duplication of some sort took place, or that the orginal is somehow not given away in a physical sense.
    – tmh
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 11:18
  • 3
    But this does not explicitly (leaving no room for confusion or doubt) describe sharing something without 'losing it'. Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 11:38
  • @EdwinAshworth -- I would say that it does, actually, based on context. "I shared my photos with my Facebook friends." "She shared this silly web video with her contact list." "My friend shared his thoughts on a social media website." In all three of these instances, no person would assume that the person doing the sharing is "losing" something.
    – Kyle
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 12:04
  • 2
    'Leaving no room for confusion or doubt' doesn't mean 'in certain contexts not leaving room for confusion or doubt'. OP even includes "especially with modern technology, it became possible to 'share' immaterial goods where in the end, both (all) parties have a copy of the exact same thing". You're repeating OP's caveat, not suggesting a word which doesn't include the 'non-relinquishing of any part of what you had before' sense. Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 12:52
  • 1
    You can share a sleeping bag without giving it away. Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 17:53

For the context involving information and knowledge, you could consider using disseminate:

Spread (something, especially information) widely: health authorities should foster good practice by disseminating information

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

In terms of music to share might be better than to disseminate and the linked Ngram Viewer shows the difference in their usage.

In terms of image, it is idiomatic to use to share and it doesn't necessarily mean that you lose it.


May be not the exact answer, but inspirational.


From Wikipedia :

Socialization, also spelled socialisation, is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and educationalists to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs, and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society. Socialization is thus "the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained".

and from M-W Socialize means: "to talk to and do things with other people in a friendly way"

However it has different meanings in different contexts, as in following examples it introduces a sense of sharing something with others.

When you socialize your idea with your friends (and eventual backers), they may say, “Are you kidding? That $100,000 is worth more than 20 percent.


Socialize your information and recommendation with a variety of people to verify the reasonableness of your analysis.

and another one

You can also socialize your images on different social networks. It does comes with some problems, like, there is no option of deleting an image...


Did you check all the meanings of share? In the era of Social Media, share means

(as noun)an instance of posting or reposting on a social media website or application

(as verb) to post/repost something on a social media website or application

Usage: "there have been 25,000 shares on Twitter and 117 likes on Facebook as of 7:30 p.m."

Reference - Google

Therefore, if your context is social media, then share is perfectly fine to use.

If you are looking for something else, then consider post or broadcast

For instance,

Jeff Atwood posted a funny one-liner on "plural bug" and it went viral all over the Internet!


At midnight, I will broadcast my New Year wishes on social media.

  • It's obvious that "share" can be used both ways: "to divide something" as well as "to share something" (in the Social Media sense). However, I'm asking if there is a more specific verb that covers only that modern aspect of "sharing". I've edited my question to clearify this a bit.
    – tmh
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 11:38
  • 2
    But this does not explicitly (leaving no room for confusion or doubt) describe sharing something without 'losing it'. Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 11:40

You are correct. The English word "share" carries inherently the concept of "to divide," and always has from the German language. From laziness, the modern acceptable usage has slipped around but one still communicates the notion of cutting or dividing in the word sound and meaning. There is some implication of a loss to one party, whether tangible or potential. That is partly what gives "to share" its emotional power.

I would prefer the simpler verb "to give" for your purpose. It is understood that one can give intangible or dimensionless entities, for example ideas or affections, without any loss to the donor.


You're looking for a word that describes the process of making a file available so that others can copy it, but you don't want share. Share, as others have pointed out, is currently used in the sense of "make available for others to use," which doesn't necessarily mean that a portion of the original will be lost. The verb share comes from the noun share, and it's not clear to me that share always meant to make available so that less of the original remains (the sense that you have of the word.)

The difficulty in your request is that share is an active verb. Someone allows the sharing to happen. I shared my fries with my sister, I shared the company car with my co-worker, I shared my files on the internet. You want to remove that permission process.

The word I suggest is "publicize" but it is still active because I have to make it public.

However, I keep coming back to "make available." A synonym for "make available" is proffer, however in my mind it doesn't quite have the feel of "make available for copying," but has the share feel that you are thinking of.

It would be interesting to see if other languages use the verb "share" when talking about making a file available for copying. Perhaps a reverse translation from German or Arabic (for example) might yield something suitable, however you would run into the problem of the expression not being known or accepted by English speakers.

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