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disperse

[dih-spurs]
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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.
  3. to dispel; cause to vanish: The wind dispersed the fog.
  4. Physical Chemistry. to cause (particles) to separate uniformly throughout a solid, liquid, or gas.
  5. Optics. to subject (light) to dispersion.
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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.
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adjective
  1. Physical Chemistry. noting the dispersed particles in a dispersion.
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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 formsdis·pers·ed·ly [dih-spur-sid-lee] /dɪˈspɜr sɪd li/, adverbdis·pers·er, noundis·pers·i·bil·i·ty, noundis·pers·i·ble, adjectivepre·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, adjectiveun·dis·pers·ing, adjectivewell-dis·persed, adjective
Can be confuseddisperse disbursedisperse dispose

Synonyms

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1. See scatter. 2. sow, broadcast. 7. disappear, evanesce.

Antonyms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

dispelseparatedissolvediffusedislodgesprayspreaddissipatedisbanddischargevanishscatterdisappearcirculatesheddismissdealejectdisseminaterout

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.

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

  • 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

disperse

verb
  1. to scatter; distribute over a wide area
  2. to dissipate or cause to dissipate
  3. to leave or cause to leave a gathering, often in a random manner
  4. to separate or be separated by dispersion
  5. (tr) to diffuse or spread (news, information, etc)
  6. to separate (particles) throughout a solid, liquid, or gas, as in the formation of a suspension or colloid
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adjective
  1. of or consisting of the particles in a colloid or suspensiondisperse phase
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Derived Formsdispersedly (dɪˈspɜːsɪdlɪ), adverbdisperser, noun

Word Origin

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

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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

Word Origin and History for disperse

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

disperse in Medicine

disperse

(dĭ-spûrs)
v.
  1. To cause to separate and move in different directions; scatter.
  2. To cause to vanish or disappear.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.