in·​ter·​sperse | \ˌin-tər-ˈspərs \
interspersed; interspersing

Definition of intersperse 

transitive verb

1 : to place something at intervals in or among intersperse a book with pictures

2 : to insert at intervals among other things interspersing drawings throughout the text

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Other Words from intersperse

interspersion \ˌin-​tər-​ˈspər-​zhən, -​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

Eric Bangeman, Jacqui Cheng, Lee Hutchinson, Andrew Cunningham, myself, and others interspersed. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "20 years of the iMac at Ars Technica, in reviews and pictures," 17 Aug. 2018 O’Neal and Howard were goofballs throughout most of their Magic tenures, but Bamba found a way to subtly intersperse his humor on Friday. Josh Robbins,, "Mohamed Bamba dazzles during introductory press conference," 23 June 2018 The reviewers concluded that Abeka texts neglect such topics as human genome research, misrepresent the fossil record and intersperse religious teachings with science and history. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "Good test scores but too much Bible: Two views from research on NC school vouchers," 4 June 2018 Battle's name, however, is interspersed visually throughout the ad and said repeatedly during the voiceover narration. Paul Gattis,, "Tommy Battle releases first TV ad in gubernatorial race," 1 May 2018 Ocean’s Instagram is refreshingly off the cuff, interspersed with goofy mirror selfies and house-proud updates that are totally relatable (yes, Ocean is really excited about his new light fixture). Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Frank Ocean’s Newly Public Instagram Offers Surprising New Insights Into the Singer’s Style," 16 Nov. 2018 Inside the gold metallic packaging, the Gold Palette contains a rainbow of sparkly gold hues interspersed with punchy denim blues and neutral browns. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Natasha Denona Is Launching a Gold Eye Shadow Palette to Give Your Eyes the Midas Touch," 27 Sep. 2018 The area is flat, sandy and more delicate, interspersed with smaller plants and cobbles. Martina Schimitschek,, "At Scripps, a seascape landscape," 5 July 2018 Bamford, who launched the book at a May event in Malibu, intersperses her story and the striking photos with nutritious recipes: plum and bitter almond jam, flat-iron chicken and kale. Kavita Daswani,, "4 healthy summer reads," 15 June 2018

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 1

History and Etymology for intersperse

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

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Statistics for intersperse

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for intersperse

The first known use of intersperse was in 1566

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More Definitions for intersperse



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 \
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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