verb (used with object), in·ter·spersed, in·ter·spers·ing.

to scatter here and there or place at intervals among other things: to intersperse flowers among shrubs.
to diversify with something placed or scattered at intervals: to intersperse a dull speech with interesting anecdotes.

Nearby words

  1. intersex,
  2. intersexual,
  3. interspace,
  4. interspecies,
  5. interspecific,
  6. interspersed,
  7. interspersion,
  8. interspinal muscle,
  9. interspinal plane,
  10. interstade

Origin of intersperse

1560–70; < Latin interspersus (past participle of interspergere to strew here and there), equivalent to inter- inter- + -spersus, combining form of sparsus, past participle of spargere to scatter; see disperse

Related formsin·ter·spers·ed·ly [in-ter-spur-sid-lee] /ˌɪn tərˈspɜr sɪd li/, adverbin·ter·sper·sion [in-ter-spur-zhuhn or, esp. British, -shuhn] /ˌɪn tərˈspɜr ʒən or, esp. British, -ʃən/, in·ter·sper·sal, nounun·in·ter·spersed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intersperse

British Dictionary definitions for intersperse


verb (tr)

to scatter or distribute among, between, or on
to diversify (something) with other things scattered here and there
Derived Formsinterspersedly (ˌɪntəˈspɜːsɪdlɪ), adverbinterspersion (ˌɪntəˈspɜːʃən) or interspersal, noun

Word Origin for intersperse

C16: from Latin interspargere, from inter- + spargere to sprinkle

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 intersperse



1560s, from Latin interspersus "strewn, scattered, sprinkled upon," past participle of *interspergere, from inter- "between" (see inter-) + spargere "to scatter" (see sparse). Related: Interspersed; interspersing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper