disperse

verb
dis·​perse | \ di-ˈspərs How to pronounce disperse (audio) \
dispersed; dispersing

Definition of disperse

transitive verb

1a : to cause to break up (see break up sense 1a) police dispersed the crowd
b : to cause to become spread widely disperse the troops
c : to cause to evaporate or vanish sunlight dispersing the mist
2 : to spread or distribute from a fixed or constant source: such as
a archaic : disseminate disperse the news
b physics : to subject to dispersion (see dispersion sense 4) disperse light
c chemistry : to distribute (something, such as fine particles) more or less evenly throughout a medium

intransitive verb

1 : to break up in random fashion the crowd dispersed on request
2a : to become dispersed the particles dispersed throughout the mixture
b : dissipate, vanish the fog dispersed toward morning

Other Words from disperse

dispersedly \ di-​ˈspər-​səd-​lē How to pronounce disperse (audio) , -​ˈspərst-​lē \ adverb
disperser noun
dispersible \ di-​ˈspər-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce disperse (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for disperse

scatter, disperse, dissipate, dispel mean to cause to separate or break up. scatter implies a force that drives parts or units irregularly in many directions. the bowling ball scattered the pins disperse implies a wider separation and a complete breaking up of a mass or group. police dispersed the crowd dissipate stresses complete disintegration or dissolution and final disappearance. the fog was dissipated by the morning sun dispel stresses a driving away or getting rid of as if by scattering. an authoritative statement that dispelled all doubt

Examples of disperse in a Sentence

Police ordered the crowd to disperse. the crowd dispersed once the show ended
Recent Examples on the Web The committee held its final summer hearing last week, which focused on Trump’s failing to help disperse attackers overrunning the Capitol — even as top aides and members of his family implored him to call for an end to the violence. Will Weissert, BostonGlobe.com, 25 July 2022 In deciding whether to disperse a camp, officials from the city, health department and other agencies consider its size, the condition of the site and potential health or safety concerns. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 July 2022 For instance, the way diffractive waveguides disperse colors creates a rainbow effect, and the eye sees red, green and blue separately. Ari Grobman, Forbes, 19 July 2022 Police responded with tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 14 July 2022 The researchers have also found that the gophers disperse their waste throughout their tunnels, which could help fertilize the soil. New York Times, 11 July 2022 Officers used water canons to try and disperse the crows in Colombo on Friday. Reuters, NBC News, 9 July 2022 Steam mops work with a reusable microfiber pad or a disposable cloth attached to the head that helps disperse the steam across the floor. Carolyn Forté, Good Housekeeping, 8 July 2022 Both men were accused of rioting, disorderly conduct, failing to disperse and resisting arrest. Olivia Mitchell, cleveland, 7 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of disperse

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for disperse

Middle English, from Latin dispersus, past participle of dispergere to scatter, from dis- + spargere to scatter — more at spark

Learn More About disperse

Time Traveler for disperse

Time Traveler

The first known use of disperse was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near disperse

dispersant

disperse

dispersed harmony

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Statistics for disperse

Last Updated

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disperse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disperse. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for disperse

disperse

verb
dis·​perse | \ di-ˈspərs How to pronounce disperse (audio) \
dispersed; dispersing

Kids Definition of disperse

: to break up and scatter The clouds dispersed.

disperse

verb
dis·​perse | \ dis-ˈpərs How to pronounce disperse (audio) \
dispersed; dispersing

Medical Definition of disperse

transitive verb

: to spread or distribute from a fixed or constant source: as
a : to subject (as light) to dispersion
b : to distribute (as fine particles) more or less evenly throughout a medium

More from Merriam-Webster on disperse

Nglish: Translation of disperse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disperse for Arabic Speakers

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