Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[dih-spurs] /dɪˈspɜrs/
verb (used with object), dispersed, dispersing.
to drive or send off in various directions; scatter:
to disperse a crowd.
to spread widely; disseminate:
to disperse knowledge.
to dispel; cause to vanish:
The wind dispersed the fog.
Physical Chemistry. to cause (particles) to separate uniformly throughout a solid, liquid, or gas.
Optics. to subject (light) to dispersion.
verb (used without object), dispersed, dispersing.
to separate and move apart in different directions without order or regularity; become scattered:
The crowd dispersed.
to be dispelled; be scattered out of sight; vanish:
The smoke dispersed into the sky.
Physical Chemistry. noting the dispersed particles in a dispersion.
Origin of disperse
1350-1400; Middle English dispersen, disparsen (< Middle French disperser) < Latin dispersus (past participle of dispergere), equivalent to di- di-2 + -sper(g)- scatter (stem of -spergere, combining form of spargere to scatter, strew) + -sus past participle suffix
Related forms
[dih-spur-sid-lee] /dɪˈspɜr sɪd li/ (Show IPA),
disperser, noun
dispersibility, noun
dispersible, adjective
predisperse, verb (used with object), predispersed, predispersing.
redisperse, verb, redispersed, redispersing.
undispersed, adjective
undispersing, adjective
well-dispersed, adjective
Can be confused
disperse, disburse.
disperse, dispose.
1. See scatter. 2. sow, broadcast. 7. disappear, evanesce.
1. combine, collect. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for disperse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Once afoot, it was not long before the company began to disperse.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • A little later the crowd at the swimming place began to disperse.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • "There's one point we almost overlooked," said Frank, just as the chums were about to disperse.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • They lift up their hands to disperse the grains of the sand-storm.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • They say to hit the waterspout in the centre where it joins the other from below will disperse it.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin
British Dictionary definitions for disperse


to scatter; distribute over a wide area
to dissipate or cause to dissipate
to leave or cause to leave a gathering, often in a random manner
to separate or be separated by dispersion
(transitive) to diffuse or spread (news, information, etc)
to separate (particles) throughout a solid, liquid, or gas, as in the formation of a suspension or colloid
of or consisting of the particles in a colloid or suspension: disperse phase
Derived Forms
dispersedly (dɪˈspɜːsɪdlɪ) adverb
disperser, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin dispērsus scattered, from dispergere to scatter widely, from di-² + spargere to strew
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for disperse

late 14c., from Latin dispersus, past participle of dispergere "to scatter," from dis- "apart, in every direction" (see dis-) + spargere "to scatter" (see sparse). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by tostregdan. Related: Dispersed; dispersing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
disperse in Medicine

disperse dis·perse (dĭ-spûrs')
v. dis·persed, dis·pers·ing, dis·pers·es

  1. To cause to separate and move in different directions; scatter.

  2. To cause to vanish or disappear.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for disperse

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for disperse

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for disperse