In my inbox, a search of my email for “sharing out” returns six results from one PR fellow, one result for a coworker of his and one result from Dennis Kucinich. These first seven results usually go something like, “On behalf of the [name of publication], sharing out this item by [author name] “[title of piece].” OR! In a weirder one: “I’m sharing out [name’s] byline she wrote for the March issue of [client] [the “client” was in their own brackets!] [name of client magazine] (on sale is Feb 20) about how [summary of topic].” This seems sort of new in American English!
The phrase sounds like some new take on “widecasting” or something like that. And when one Googles, there’s obviously quite a bit of stuff on “sharing out” an external hard drive, or a wifi connection, or other technical what-nots.
But the majority of other usage seems to be British English? It is even in Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition, under “Main Entry: dole out.”
There is a reference to The Sharing-Out of Nuclear Attraction: or “I Can’t Think about Physics in Chemistry,” a 1998 paper on how chemistry and physics folks don’t work together (also from the UK).
Oh and: the Kucinich result, you ask? It was a recollection of Elizabeth Kucinich’s grandmother, sent to the Kucinich email list, upon which I was nonconsensually but pleasurably place. It goes: “In the evenings, my sister, Verity and I would gorge ourselves as Nan sat in her chair by the fire peeling and sharing out pears from the garden which had been wrapped in newspaper and stored in a cardboard box until their flavour and ripeness had reached a heavenly perfection.” AND GUESS WHO IS ENGLISH? That’s right. Elizabeth Kucinich, born in North Ockendon, England.
This is how things start: foreigners doing funny things with our language and then next thing we know, we talk like them.