• synonyms


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

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

Examples from the Web for interspersion

Historical Examples of interspersion

  • Their irregularity is owing to the interspersion of sea and land, and the irregularities of the earths surface.

    A Guide to the Scientific Knowledge of Things Familiar

    Ebenezer Cobham Brewer

  • The interspersion of comments in dialogues is another matter of detail which greatly increases or lessens the finish of work.

  • The interspersion of some discords seems to imply serious differences of opinion between the parties to the treaty.

    Charles Dickens and Music

    James T. Lightwood

British Dictionary definitions for interspersion


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 interspersion


1650s, noun of action from intersperse.

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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