The action of sharing something out among a number of recipients.
Dividends, interest, and capital appreciation are the three main types of income payable to shareholders of securities. Dividend distributions come primarily from the interest and dividends earned by the securities in a investment portfolio, if any, after expenses are paid by Investment companies if owned. Capital appreciation distributions represent a fund’s net gains, if any, from the sale of securities held in its portfolio.
Total return is the change in value of an investment over a given period, assuming reinvestment of any dividends and capital gain distributions, expressed as a percentage of the initial investment.  The total return includes dividends, capital gains distributions, and the increase in the net asset value of the property. 
Distribute-tribute-tribe. Distributions are the tribute paid in proportions, to the tribe of shareholders.
14c from distribution 13c "a division, distribution, deal out in portions, from dis- "individually" + tribuere "assign, allot.”  14c tribute., "tax paid to a ruler or master for security or protection, a thing contributed or paid, to pay, assign, grant," also "allot among the tribes or to a tribe," from tribus (see tribe). Sense of "offering, gift, token" is first recorded 1580s.  13c tribe one of the twelve divisions of the ancient Hebrews, perhaps from tri- "three" + *bhu-, root of the verb be. Town, inhabited place, race or tribe of men, body of men united by ties of blood and descent, a clan.