in·​ter·​sperse | \ ˌin-tər-ˈspərs How to pronounce intersperse (audio) \
interspersed; interspersing

Definition of intersperse

transitive verb

1 : to insert at intervals among other things interspersing drawings throughout the text
2 : to place something at intervals in or among intersperse a book with pictures

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Other Words from intersperse

interspersion \ ˌin-​tər-​ˈspər-​zhən How to pronounce intersperse (audio) , -​shən \ noun

Did You Know?

Intersperse derives from Latin interspersus, formed by combining the familiar prefix inter- ("between or among") with "sparsus," the past participle of spargere, meaning "to scatter." In "sparsus" one finds an ancestor to our adjective "sparse," as well as a relative of "spark." (The relationship of "spark" to a word that describes something being scattered about makes sense when you think of sparks bursting or scattering off a flame.) "Intersperse" is often followed by the preposition "with," as in "a straggling street of comfortable white and red houses, interspersed with abundant shady trees." (H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds)

Examples of intersperse in a Sentence

You should intersperse these pictures evenly throughout the book. Some seagulls were interspersed among the ducks.
Recent Examples on the Web However, the wide receivers still struggled to get open deep, so the Tigers were mostly only able to intersperse short and medium passes in with the runs. Giana Han, al, "Instant analysis: Auburn defense crumbles in loss to Texas A&M," 5 Dec. 2020 During the week, Noble and her fellow teachers see paying students for riding lessons and intersperse those sessions with free classes for Humble. Tony Bravo,, "Black Lives Matter equestrian on mission to inspire inner-city youths," 30 Oct. 2020 The first is to plant in large blocks, the second to intersperse them among existing perennials. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "Planting bulbs offers a bit of hope for better things to come. Even this year.," 21 Oct. 2020 Expandable graphite is a powdery substance in which graphite’s famously flat and slippery carbon sheets are interspersed with sulphuric acid. The Economist, "Crackle, pop, snap Self-destructing glue solves a sticky environmental problem," 28 May 2020 Garlin kept singing and interspersing her songs with chatter — sometimes silly and sometimes profound. Heather Knight,, "Noe Valley folk singer brings sidewalk jam sessions to grateful neighbors: ‘She’s a light’," 6 May 2020 Pine, beech and maple trees are also interspersed in the area, taking up space from young oaks and hickories, an initial proposal for the project said. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "Hoosier National Forest burn could hurt drinking water for 140,000 people, opponents say," 18 Feb. 2020 Breaking the code down into well-organized, individually executable steps—and interspersing Markdown language that wraps it into an attractive, readable framework—offers an excellent introduction into new types of code. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Cloudy with a chance of neurons: The tools that make neural networks work," 9 Dec. 2019 This is all interspersed with clips of Jamie and Trevor making out in a hot tub. Lia Beck,, "Listen To Your Heart Episode 2 Recap: This Week, At A Very Special Guitar Center…," 20 Apr. 2020

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

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for intersperse

Latin interspersus interspersed, from inter- + sparsus, past participle of spargere to scatter — more at spark

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Time Traveler for intersperse

Time Traveler

The first known use of intersperse was in 1566

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Last Updated

13 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intersperse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for intersperse


How to pronounce intersperse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intersperse

: to put (something) at different places among other things
: to put things at different places within (something)


in·​ter·​sperse | \ ˌin-tər-ˈspərs How to pronounce intersperse (audio) \
interspersed; interspersing

Kids Definition of intersperse

1 : to put (something) here and there among other things The publisher interspersed pictures throughout the book.
2 : to put things at various places in or among Sunshine was interspersed with clouds.

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