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

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Other Words from disperse

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

In the Roman Catholic faith, the vigil begins with an outdoor fire, lighting up the night to disperse the darkness. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "What Is Holy Saturday, the Day Before Easter, and Why Do We Celebrate It?," 1 Mar. 2019 Essentially, this system evaporates water into the air from plant leaves, dispersing moisture into the air and creating higher humidity levels in your home. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Want to Avoid the Flu This Season? Buy a House Plant," 26 Feb. 2019 Protesters started dispersing after Trump's motorcade left the migrant facility. Kaila White, azcentral, "Melania Trump tours Southwest Key migrant facility in Phoenix," 28 June 2018 The party dispersed—with most off to bed and a few brave souls venturing deeper into the Parisian night—but all awoke to the same beautiful surprise: the City of Light dusted with a fresh coat of snow. Alexander Howard, Vogue, "At Couture Week, Hunting Season Hosted a Très Chic Crew for Dinner," 22 Jan. 2019 Naturally, the crowd immediately dispersed among the field. Bianca Gracie, Billboard, "Travis Scott Transforms His Headlining Governors Ball Set Into a Personal Rage Fest," 3 June 2018 The 2017 LGBT Pride March there was banned by authorities, but organizers defied the order before being dispersed by police and tear gas. Ayana Archie And Brandon Griggs, CNN, "It's Pride Month. Here's what you need to know," 13 June 2018 The performance of individual stocks also tends to be more dispersed on days with more earnings reports, the Bank of America analysts found. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Will Corporate Earnings Calm the Stock Market’s Nerves?," 16 Oct. 2018 True to the ideal that power should be dispersed, the constitution makes the drawing of districts for House elections a matter for the states. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for disperse

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disperse

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

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More Definitions for disperse

disperse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of disperse

: to go or move in different directions : to spread apart

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on disperse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disperse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disperse

Spanish Central: Translation of disperse

Nglish: Translation of disperse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disperse for Arabic Speakers

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