adjective dis·pa·rate \ ˈdis-p(ə-)rət , di-ˈsper-ət , -ˈspa-rət \
|Updated on: 7 Aug 2018

Definition of disparate

1 : markedly distinct in quality or character
2 : containing or made up of fundamentally different and often incongruous elements






play \di-ˈsper-ə-tē, -ˈspa-rə-\ noun

disparate was our Word of the Day on 09/27/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of disparate in a Sentence

  1. First during the nineteen-seventies, but with increasing momentum during the eighties, a loose community of physics researchers had begun to postulate that the disparate small particles that we learned about in high-school science class—electrons, for instance—were actually the varied vibrations of tiny open and closed looped strings. —Benjamin Wallace-WellsNew Yorker21 July 2008
  2. The American border with Mexico is among the most economically disparate intersections in the world, but the cities on either side of the port looked almost identical—a spread of humble brick and cinder-block homes dotting a blanket of brown hills. —Cecilia BalliHarper'sOctober 2006
  3. I made the French lemon cream tart that Greenspan credits to Hermé and got disparate reactions. An American friend loved its creaminess and felt it had a comfortingly familiar texture; a British friend … said he missed the traditional sharp, gel-like custard. —Tamasin Day-LewisSaveurNovember 2006
  4. Like these imagined cities, identical twins are identical only in their blueprints. By the time they are born, they are already disparate in countless neurological and physiological ways that mostly we cannot see. —Frank J. SullowayNew York Review30 Nov. 2006
  5. The plan, as near as anybody outside Yahoo can make out, is to stitch all those disparate organizations into one huge Frankenstein's monster of a search engine that will strike terror into the hearts of all who behold it. —Lev GrossmanTime22 Dec. 2003
  6. disparate notions among adults and adolescents about when middle age begins

Recent Examples of disparate from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of disparate

borrowed from Latin disparātus "separate, distinct," from past participle of disparāre "to divide, separate off, make different," from dis- dis- + parāre "to supply, provide, make ready" (influenced in sense by association with dispar-, dispār "unequal, different") — more at pare

Synonym Discussion of disparate

different, diverse, divergent, disparate, various mean unlike in kind or character. different may imply little more than separateness but it may also imply contrast or contrariness.
    • different foods
diverse implies both distinctness and marked contrast.
    • such diverse interests as dancing and football
divergent implies movement away from each other and unlikelihood of ultimate meeting or reconciliation.
    • went on to pursue divergent careers
disparate emphasizes incongruity or incompatibility.
    • disparate notions of freedom
various stresses the number of sorts or kinds.
    • tried various methods

DISPARATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of disparate for English Language Learners

  • : different from each other

Medical Dictionary


adjective dis·pa·rate \ dis-ˈpar-ət , ˈdis-p(ə-)rət \

medical Definition of disparate

: indicating or stimulating dissimilar points on the retina of each eye

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up disparate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


very hard to disturb or upset

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!