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

By mid-afternoon Pacific time, the asylum seekers had dispersed and retreated. Dara Lind, Vox, "How a march at the US-Mexico border descended into tear gas and chaos," 26 Nov. 2018 Overall, the winners were evenly dispersed and featured a wide array of genres and styles. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "All the Winners at the 2018 MTV VMAs," 21 Aug. 2018 The sit-in was violently dispersed on Aug. 14, 2013. Fox News, "Egypt court sentences 75 to death over 2013 sit-in," 28 July 2018 Most of its parts are dispersed through a fume hood, which ensures safe ventilation of any products that somehow escape the system. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "AI plus a chemistry robot finds all the reactions that will work," 18 July 2018 The ordinance called for a community benefits agreement outlining protections and promises to West End residents to be approved by City Council before the money is dispersed. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "FC Cincinnati stadium on the ballot? City says 'no'," 11 May 2018 The curfew and state of emergency have raised fears the military could eventually disperse the sit-in by force. Maggie Michael, The Seattle Times, "Sudan army removes leader, rejects al-Bashir extradition," 13 Apr. 2019 One of the most impressive collections the world had ever seen, taken apart and dispersed around the world. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "A 40-Carat Diamond Ring with Ties to the French Royal Family Was Just Recovered by Police in Paris," 8 Apr. 2019 This is similar to fuel air explosive weapons, which disperse a flammable mist outside the body of the munition before detonating. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Rectangular, Computerized Grenade Puts a New Spin on the Flashbang," 28 Feb. 2019

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

17 May 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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