[ dih-spurs ]
See synonyms for: dispersedisperseddispersingdispersible on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),dis·persed, dis·pers·ing.
  1. to drive or send off in various directions; scatter: to disperse a crowd.

  2. to spread widely; disseminate: to disperse knowledge.

  1. to dispel; cause to vanish: The wind dispersed the fog.

  2. Physical Chemistry. to cause (particles) to separate uniformly throughout a solid, liquid, or gas.

  3. Optics. to subject (light) to dispersion.

verb (used without object),dis·persed, dis·pers·ing.
  1. to separate and move apart in different directions without order or regularity; become scattered: The crowd dispersed.

  2. to be dispelled; be scattered out of sight; vanish: The smoke dispersed into the sky.

  1. Physical Chemistry. noting the dispersed particles in a dispersion.

Origin of disperse

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English dispersen, disparsen (from Middle French disperser,) from 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

synonym study For disperse

1. See scatter.

Other words for disperse

Opposites for disperse

Other words from disperse

  • dis·pers·ed·ly [dih-spur-sid-lee], /dɪˈspɜr sɪd li/, adverb
  • dis·pers·er, noun
  • dis·pers·i·bil·i·ty, noun
  • dis·pers·i·ble, adjective
  • pre·dis·perse, verb (used with object), pre·dis·persed, pre·dis·pers·ing.
  • re·dis·perse, verb, re·dis·persed, re·dis·pers·ing.
  • un·dis·persed, adjective
  • un·dis·pers·ing, adjective
  • well-dis·persed, adjective

Words that may be confused with disperse

Words Nearby disperse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use disperse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for disperse


/ (dɪˈspɜːs) /

  1. to scatter; distribute over a wide area

  2. to dissipate or cause to dissipate

  1. to leave or cause to leave a gathering, often in a random manner

  2. to separate or be separated by dispersion

  3. (tr) to diffuse or spread (news, information, etc)

  4. to separate (particles) throughout a solid, liquid, or gas, as in the formation of a suspension or colloid

  1. of or consisting of the particles in a colloid or suspension: disperse phase

Origin of disperse

C14: from Latin dispērsus scattered, from dispergere to scatter widely, from di- ² + spargere to strew


Derived forms of disperse

  • dispersedly (dɪˈspɜːsɪdlɪ), adverb
  • disperser, noun

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