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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

Example Sentences

The morning sun dissipated the fog. The fog should dissipate soon.
Recent Examples on the Web La Niña is forecast to dissipate next year and become neutral. Dave Epstein, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Oct. 2022 The storm is expected to weaken and dissipate over south-central Virginia by Saturday night. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 2 Oct. 2022 The post tropical cyclone will turn north-northwest later Friday, moving farther inland across North Carolina overnight and into Saturday, where it is forecast to dissipate. Shira Moolten, Sun Sentinel, 30 Sep. 2022 Through Tonight: Some high cloud cover should dissipate overnight and leave mostly clear skies for Santa. Greg Porter, Washington Post, 25 Dec. 2022 Hermine could strengthen through Saturday but is expected to weaken beginning Sunday and dissipate early next week, the 5 p.m. update said. Keven Lerner, Sun Sentinel, 23 Sep. 2022 It is expected to dissipate along some coastal areas by Friday evening, when a warm-up is forecast. Christine Mai-duc, WSJ, 23 Dec. 2022 This Casper pillow is made with AirScape foam that’s perforated to dissipate heat. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Peoplemag, 22 Dec. 2022 Tropical Depression 12 is expected to dissipate by Friday night, but a new tropical depression is expected to form in the Caribbean over the next day or two. Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel, 6 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near dissipate

Cite this Entry

“Dissipate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissipate. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​si·​pate ˈdis-ə-ˌpāt How to pronounce dissipate (audio)
dissipated; dissipating
: to break up and drive off
dissipate a crowd
: to use up wastefully or foolishly : squander
dissipated his fortune
: to separate into parts and scatter or vanish
: to be unrestrained in the pursuit of pleasure
especially : to drink to excess

Legal Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on dissipate

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