diffuse

adjective
dif·​fuse | \ di-ˈfyüs How to pronounce diffuse (audio) \

Definition of diffuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being at once verbose and ill-organized a diffuse report from the scene of the earthquake
2 : not concentrated or localized diffuse lighting diffuse sclerosis

diffuse

verb
dif·​fuse | \ di-ˈfyüz How to pronounce diffuse (audio) \
diffused; diffusing

Definition of diffuse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to pour out and permit or cause to spread freely a drop of blue dye diffused in a glass of water
b : extend, scatter diffusing their ideas throughout the continent
c : to spread thinly or wastefully a government in which power is diffused
2 physics : to subject to diffusion (see diffusion sense 3) especially : to break up and distribute (incident light) by reflection put up a screen to diffuse the light

intransitive verb

1 : to spread out or become transmitted especially by contact The civilization diffused westward.
2 : to undergo diffusion heat from the radiator diffusing throughout the room

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Other Words from diffuse

Adjective

diffusely adverb
diffuseness noun

Verb

diffusible \ di-​ˈfyü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce diffuse (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for diffuse

Adjective

wordy, verbose, prolix, diffuse mean using more words than necessary to express thought. wordy may also imply loquaciousness or garrulity. a wordy speech verbose suggests a resulting dullness, obscurity, or lack of incisiveness or precision. the verbose position papers prolix suggests unreasonable and tedious dwelling on details. habitually transformed brief anecdotes into prolix sagas diffuse stresses lack of compactness and pointedness of style. diffuse memoirs that are so many shaggy-dog stories

Frequently Asked Questions About diffuse

What is the difference between diffuse and defuse?

Many people find it difficult to remember the difference between defuse and diffuse, and when faced with the need for one of these words simply grab whichever one first comes to mind. Although these word sound quite similar, their meanings are rather distinct. Defuse means "to make less harmful, potent, or tense"; the word has another, helpfully literal, meaning, which is "to remove the fuse from." Diffuse means "not concentrated or localized"; it comes from the Latin word diffūsus ("spread over a wide area").

What is the difference between diffuse and infuse?

Diffuse is commonly found used as both adjective ("not concentrated or localized") and verb ("to pour out and permit or cause to spread freely," "to scatter"), while infuse is almost entirely restricted to use as a verb. While the meannings of diffuse are mainly concerned with outward movement, those of infuse are inward; the word has such meanings as "to steep in liquid (such as water) without boiling so as to extract the soluble constituents or principles," "to administer or inject by infusion," and "to cause to be permeated with something (such as a principle or quality) that alters usually for the better."

What does diffuse pain mean?

Diffuse pain is pain is pain that not concentrated or localized, being instead spread throughout a wider area of the body.

Examples of diffuse in a Sentence

Adjective The forest was filled with a soft, diffuse light. a diffuse speech that took a great deal of time to make a very small point Verb The heat from the radiator diffuses throughout the room. The heat was diffused throughout the room. The photographer uses a screen to diffuse the light. an area of diffused light
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In Los Angeles County, the impacts of the pandemic have been relatively diffuse, with millions of residents suffering and grieving in isolation across a famously vast sprawl. Matthew Bloch, New York Times, "In Los Angeles, the Virus Is Pummeling Those Who Can Least Afford to Fall Ill," 29 Jan. 2021 In large part, that’s because the CO2 in power plant emissions is relatively diffuse. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "The business model for carbon capture is broken," 13 Aug. 2020 Kraftwerk’s studio albums have been sampled liberally (by Jay-Z, Afrika Bambaataa, Coldplay), but its influence feels even more diffuse and profound. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Florian Schneider-Esleben, of Kraftwerk, Took Music to Uncharted Territory," 6 May 2020 Like one of the smooth wood sculptures inside, its solid form twists and in some cases fractures, opening up large skylights that bring diffuse illumination into the galleries. Sam Lubell, Los Angeles Times, "11 buildings by Ma Yansong, the architect behind George Lucas’ L.A. museum," 2 Apr. 2020 In the United States, a younger and more diffuse population means the peak comes a bit later and doesn't rise as high per capita, but the larger population means that over 2 million people end up dead. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Inside the model that may be making US, UK rethink coronavirus control," 17 Mar. 2020 Artificial light includes both direct lighting, such as street lights and commercial signs, and skyglow, a more diffuse illumination that spreads beyond urban centers and can be brighter than a full moon. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Fireflies are facing extinction due to habitat loss, pesticides and artificial light," 3 Feb. 2020 The image captures a wide array of phenomena; some fall under the category of halos, while the more diffuse shadings closer to the moon are from a corona. Washington Post, "Incredible moon halos, corona shine over Manitoba, Canada," 11 Jan. 2020 Are Levi’s efforts too diffuse to add up to real impact? Heather Landy, Quartz at Work, "Who will replace Paul Polman as the face of sustainable capitalism?," 18 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Merz matriarch tries to diffuse the situation with a drink. Madeleine Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Sybille Bedford and the Unruly Art of the Origin Story," 29 Mar. 2021 If your window gets lots of direct sunlight, pull the plant back a bit or diffuse the light with a sheer curtain. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "Monstera Plant Care Tips," 10 Mar. 2021 The burbling, diffuse flows of the vents themselves had turned to cloudy water, emerging from cracks and holes. Sabrina Imbler, The Atlantic, "An Epic Journey to Adulthood Begins in the Intestines of a Deep-Sea Fish," 16 Feb. 2021 Reflected off new snow, with no leaves to diffuse it, the sunshine was blindingly bright. Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune, "The Puppy Chronicles: A cold snap changed the length of Angus' walks – and intensified their beauty," 19 Feb. 2021 To diffuse and soften light, get fixtures that have domes, globes, shades or, at the very least, frosted bulbs. Marni Jameson | Contributing Writer, NOLA.com, "Want your home to feel years younger? Try updating your light fixtures. Here's how to do it," 26 Jan. 2021 The new flowery bouquet plays in the heart of the fragrance, which is the part of the scent that’s stays with you once the top notes diffuse away. Sam Neibart, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rihanna’s Favorite Perfume Now Comes in an Extreme Version," 26 Jan. 2021 Using a cell that contains fluorescent proteins, researchers zap the region in question with a laser to darken the molecules and then trace how long the fluorescence takes to diffuse back in from other parts of the cell. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Sloppy science or groundbreaking idea? Theory for how cells organize contents divides biologists," 21 Jan. 2021 Once the purview of law enforcement officers and military operators, these kinds of skills are increasingly being passed down to ordinary, armed Americans by a sprawling and diffuse industry. Rachel Monroe, Wired, "I Am Not a Soldier, but I Have Been Trained to Kill," 15 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diffuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of diffuse

Adjective

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for diffuse

Adjective

Middle English, "dispersed, verbose (of speech or writing)," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French diffus, borrowed from Latin diffūsus "spread over a wide area, (of writing) extensive, verbose," from past participle of diffundere "to pour out over a wide surface, spread, extend, squander" — more at diffuse entry 2

Verb

Middle English, in past participle diffusid, borrowed from Latin diffūsus, past participle of diffundere "to pour out over a wide surface, spread out, extend, squander," from dif-, assimilated form of dis- dis- + fundere "to pour, shed" — more at found entry 5

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Time Traveler for diffuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of diffuse was in the 15th century

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Statistics for diffuse

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diffuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diffuse. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for diffuse

diffuse

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of diffuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: spread out over a large space : not concentrated in one area

diffuse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of diffuse (Entry 2 of 2)

: to spread out : to move freely throughout a large area
: to exist or be known throughout an area
: to cause (light) to be soft and spread out

diffuse

verb
dif·​fuse | \ di-ˈfyüz How to pronounce diffuse (audio) \
diffused; diffusing

Kids Definition of diffuse

: to spread or allow to spread freely The frosted window diffused the sunlight.

diffuse

adjective
dif·​fuse | \ dif-ˈyüs How to pronounce diffuse (audio) \

Medical Definition of diffuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not concentrated or localized diffuse sclerosis

diffuse

verb
dif·​fuse | \ dif-ˈyüz How to pronounce diffuse (audio) \
diffused; diffusing

Medical Definition of diffuse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to subject (as a light beam) to diffusion
2 : to break up and distribute (incident light) by reflection (as from a rough surface)

intransitive verb

: to undergo diffusion

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Comments on diffuse

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