- distributed or occurring at widely spaced and usually irregular intervals: scattered villages; scattered showers.
- dispersed; disorganized: scattered forces.
- distracted or disorganized: scattered thoughts.
- Meteorology. (of clouds) covering up to one-half of the sky.Compare broken(def 5).
Origin of scattered
- to throw loosely about; distribute at irregular intervals: to scatter seeds.
- to separate and drive off in various directions; disperse: to scatter a crowd.
- to refract or diffract (light or other electromagnetic radiation) irregularly so as to diffuse in many directions.
- (of a medium) to diffuse or deflect (light or other wave phenomena) by collisions between the wave and particles of the medium.
- to separate and disperse; go in different directions.
Origin of scatter
1125–75; Middle English scatere; compare Dutch schateren to burst out laughing
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. broadcast. See sprinkle. 2. Scatter, dispel, disperse, dissipate imply separating and driving something away so that its original form disappears. To scatter is to separate something tangible into parts at random, and drive these in different directions: The wind scattered leaves all over the lawn. To dispel is to drive away or scatter usually intangible things so that they vanish or cease to exist: Photographs of the race dispelled all doubts as to which horse won. To disperse is usually to cause a compact or organized tangible body to separate or scatter in different directions, to be reassembled if desired: Tear gas dispersed the mob. To dissipate is usually to scatter by dissolving or reducing to small atoms or parts that cannot be brought together again: He dissipated his money and his energy in useless activities.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for scattered
Scattered here and there were the corpses of horses and donkeys.Inside the Gaza Schoolyard Massacre
July 26, 2014
Scattered around the country are members of a small fraternity of guys who own tanks.Everyone's First Car Should be a Tank
February 28, 2013
Scattered on the sidewalk, just beneath the flickering bulbs, were a handful of honeybees.When ‘Zombees’ Attack
October 11, 2012
Scattered on the floor were pages of what would become Naked Lunch.11 Books of Drug-Fueled Escapades
Brian H. Bookman
June 29, 2012
Scattered around the room are the paintings that his wife did, in a burst of creativity, during the last months of her life.John Ramsey's Lingering Suspicions
October 13, 2008
Scattered about she saw a few roots of wall-flowers, pinks and even some violets!Nobody's Girl
Scattered about lay the feathers and dismembered bones of some birds.Crooked Trails and Straight
William MacLeod Raine
Scattered along the mainland of this vast continent there was, here and there, an island.Panther Eye
Roy J. Snell
Scattered tales we have: "mimes" and other things there are some, and may have been more.A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1
Scattered all around him from the torn sack was the food he had wanted to give to the cats.Cry from a Far Planet
- (tr) to throw about in various directions; strew
- to separate and move or cause to separate and move in various directions; disperse
- to deviate or cause to deviate in many directions, as in the diffuse reflection or refraction of light
- the act of scattering
- a substance or a number of objects scattered about
C13: probably a variant of shatter
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 scattered
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To cause to separate and go in different directions.
- To separate and go in different directions; disperse.
- To deflect radiation or particles.
- The act of scattering or the condition of being scattered.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.