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verb (used with object), in·ter·spersed, in·ter·spers·ing.
  1. to scatter here and there or place at intervals among other things: to intersperse flowers among shrubs.
  2. to diversify with something placed or scattered at intervals: to intersperse a dull speech with interesting anecdotes.
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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

Synonyms for intersperse

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

Related Words for intersperse

infuse, sprinkle, pepper, intermix, distribute, interlard, diffuse, bestrew, interfuse

Examples from the Web for intersperse

Historical Examples of intersperse

  • Intersperse the pieces of chicken with layers of paste in square slices.

    Miss Leslie's Lady's New Receipt-Book

    Eliza Leslie

  • Some funny incidents too, intersperse themselves from time to time.

    Lige on the Line of March

    Glenna Lindsley Bigelow

  • If you have, commit half-a-dozen texts to memory, and intersperse them judiciously through your conversation.

  • But these they do exceedingly well, and intersperse them, with singular ingenuity, wherever they find room for the chisel.

  • Intersperse prayers with your exhortations, and thereby call down fire from heaven, even the fire of the Holy Ghost.

British Dictionary definitions for intersperse


verb (tr)
  1. to scatter or distribute among, between, or on
  2. to diversify (something) with other things scattered here and there
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper