disperse

verb dis·perse \ di-ˈspərs \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of disperse

dispersed; dispersing
transitive verb
1 a :to cause to break up (see break up 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 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
2 a :to become dispersed
  • the particles dispersed throughout the mixture
b :dissipate, vanish
  • the fog dispersed toward morning

dispersedly

play \-ˈspər-səd-lē, -ˈspərst-lē\ adverb

disperser

noun

dispersible

play \-ˈspər-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of disperse in a Sentence

  1. Police ordered the crowd to disperse.

  2. the crowd dispersed once the show ended

Recent Examples of disperse from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of disperse

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

DISPERSE Defined for English Language Learners

disperse

verb

Definition of disperse for English Language Learners

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


DISPERSE Defined for Kids

disperse

verb dis·perse \ di-ˈspərs \

Definition of disperse for Students

dispersed; dispersing
:to break up and scatter
  • The clouds dispersed.

Medical Dictionary

disperse

verb dis·perse \ dis-ˈpərs \

medical Definition of disperse

dispersed; dispersing
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
intransitive verb
:to become dispersed


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