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

Eventually, the fight disperses and the participants seem to walk away. Alma Fausto, The Denver Post, "Family brawl breaks out in Disneyland’s Toontown," 8 July 2019 On the day of his Washington visit, Canada’s MPs dispersed from Ottawa and hit the barbecue circuit to begin the unofficial campaign for the general election due in October. The Economist, "Justin Trudeau starts Canada’s election campaign as the underdog," 28 June 2019 Police called for the demonstrators to disperse but did not immediately take firm action to remove them. Raf Wober, BostonGlobe.com, "Hong Kong protests flare anew after demands unmet," 21 June 2019 Launched from forests, from mounts tied to tree trunks the Natter could be dispersed and hidden in locations where the Allies wouldn’t possibly think interceptors might rise to meet them. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Meet 'The Natter,' Nazi Germany's Wooden Rocket Plane," 19 June 2019 As magma cools into rock, magnetite grains, dispersed within and aligned with the magnetic field, become fixed: This records Earth’s polarity at the time the rock formed. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Plate Tectonics: The Slow Dance of Our Planet's Crust," 12 June 2019 The rest travels through it, and how that light is dispersed and fractured creates the dazzle. Mandy Behbehani, SFChronicle.com, "How to choose a lab-grown diamond," 10 June 2019 This will help evenly disperse the heat and prevent burning. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "12 Microwave Hacks That Will Change Your Cooking Game," 9 May 2019 Those folks have dispersed throughout the gaming industry and done fantastic work, acting like leavening in bread. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: The people who helped make Star Control 2 did a ton of other stuff," 26 Oct. 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

12 Jul 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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