dis·si·pate | \ˈdi-sə-ˌpāt \
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

In a conversation with The Chronicle’s editorial board, Bonner expressed hope that a plan to retest the 500-acre Superfund site for toxic materials would dissipate some of the uncertainty about the city’s largest redevelopment. J.k. Dineen, SFChronicle.com, "Building paused as questions linger over contamination at SF’s Hunters Point," 28 June 2018 Last year, ozone levels started to return to the average again in mid-July after some heat waves had dissipated. Kate Talerico, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville had worst air quality in country last weekend," 21 June 2018 For example at a neighborhood school, Ayed discussed how trash and debris that collect in storm drains can prevent floodwater on the street from dissipating. Noble Ingram, The Christian Science Monitor, "How one woman in East Boston shares climate know-how with coastal neighbors," 7 June 2018 The lines that formed before 1:30 had dissipated within an hour. Ed Barkowitz, Philly.com, "You bettor believe it: Delaware is open for sports betting," 5 June 2018 Here's a radar and temperature replay of the heat burst from dissipating storms over Stephens and Eastland counties last night. Bill Hanna, star-telegram, "Weird weather: Temperature soars near 100 after midnight in Texas town," 25 June 2018 More: Donerson said that the fire department responded and the smoke and odor had dissipated from the aircraft. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Smoke diverts United Airlines flight to Detroit Metro Airport," 26 June 2018 Opportunity will likely remain quiet until the dust dissipates enough for the Sun to reemerge. Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA’s Opportunity rover is in a deep sleep on Mars — but there’s hope it will wake up again," 13 June 2018 Concerns in Beijing that President Donald Trump could forge closer ties with Mr. Putin and leave China as the odd one out among the world’s largest powers have dissipated as Washington and Moscow continue to feud. Josh Chin, WSJ, "Russia and China Show Off Ties With Putin Visit," 8 June 2018

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

15 Oct 2018

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 \
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 \
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 \ 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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