dis·​si·​pate | \ ˈdi-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce dissipate (audio) \
dissipated; dissipating

Definition of dissipate

transitive verb

1a : to break up and drive off dissipate a crowd
b : to cause to spread thin or scatter and gradually vanish one's sympathy is eventually dissipated— Andrew Feinberg
c physics : to lose (heat, electricity, etc.) irrecoverably
2 : to spend or use up wastefully or foolishly dissipated the family fortune in reckless business ventures

intransitive verb

1 : to break up and scatter or vanish The clouds dissipated and the sun came out. The team's early momentum has dissipated.
2 : to be extravagant or dissolute in the pursuit of pleasure especially : to drink to excess his extended dissipating of the night before

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Other Words from dissipate

dissipater noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dissipate

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 dissipate in a Sentence

The morning sun dissipated the fog. The fog should dissipate soon.

Recent Examples on the Web

The scene was similar early in the afternoon, but meteorologists were hopeful sunshine and winds would dissipate the fog. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fog consumes lakefront just before Milwaukee fireworks show. But the show goes on!," 3 July 2019 But Gliese 3470 b stayed relatively small, perhaps because the disk of gas dissipated before the planet was able to bulk up, the team speculates. Katie Camero, Science | AAAS, "Astronomers probe atmosphere of alien world that’s a cross between Earth and Neptune," 3 July 2019 But a survey of real estate data, both commercial and residential, shows that Long Island City is enjoying a growth spell that predated its dalliance with Amazon, one that shows no signs of dissipating. Rani Molla, Vox, "Amazon’s former HQ2 location is doing just fine without Amazon," 2 July 2019 Cyanobacteria blooms — also known as blue-green algae — dissipated at the two lakes over the weekend and are no longer present. oregonlive.com, "Public health advisory for algae remains at Vancouver Lake, lifted at Lacamas and Round lakes," 2 July 2019 The pulp of that flesh contains hypoglycin, a poisonous chemical, which dissipates as the fruit ripens. Bryan Washington, The New Yorker, "Coming Back to Ackee and Salt Fish, Jamaica’s National Dish," 1 July 2019 In addition, water quality typically takes a dive after large rainstorms and rebounds as pollutants that flowed into the ocean from storm drains, rivers and creeks dissipate amid recirculation and exposure to sunlight. Hannah Fry, latimes.com, "Beach pollution surges after massive wildfires and heavy rains, report finds," 26 June 2019 Depending on the depth of the marine layer, the clouds usually dissipate as the day progresses. Paul Duginski, latimes.com, "What causes dreary, gray June gloom?," 21 June 2019 As these systems churned through reaction cycles and dissipated energy in the process, the basic form-function relationship that England sees as essential to life set in. Quanta Magazine, "First Support for a Physics Theory of Life," 16 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dissipate.' 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 dissipate

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for dissipate

Latin dissipatus, past participle of dissipare, dissupare, from dis- + supare to throw

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Statistics for dissipate

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dissipate

The first known use of dissipate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for dissipate



English Language Learners Definition of dissipate

: to cause (something) to spread out and disappear
: to separate into parts and disappear or go away
: to use all or a lot of (something, such as money or time) in a foolish way


dis·​si·​pate | \ ˈdi-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce dissipate (audio) \
dissipated; dissipating

Kids Definition of dissipate

1 : to cause to break up and disappear: disperse The wind dissipated the clouds.
2 : to scatter or waste foolishly : squander He dissipated his saved allowance.


transitive verb
dis·​si·​pate | \ ˈdi-sə-ˌpāt How to pronounce dissipate (audio) \
dissipated; dissipating

Legal Definition of dissipate

: to use (marital assets) for one's own benefit and to the exclusion of one's spouse for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown

Other Words from dissipate

dissipation \ ˌdi-​sə-​ˈpā-​shən How to pronounce dissipation (audio) \ noun

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Comments on dissipate

What made you want to look up dissipate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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