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

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

Intersperse comes from Latin interspersus, a combination of the prefix inter- ("between or among") and sparsus, the past participle of spargere, meaning "to scatter." Sparsus is also the source of sparse.

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 Mealtime—breakfast and lunch are served on the train, interspersed with many appearances of the bar cart—was an event. Arati Menon, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Oct. 2023 Beautiful photographs and vignettes of Rome’s Jewish history, culinary personalities and accomplished home cooks are interspersed among recipes that reflect the foodways of Rome’s Jewish community past and present. Stephanie Breijo, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2023 This mantel display intersperses pinecone stocking holders between colorful bottle brush Christmas trees and metallic accents. Kaylei Fear, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Nov. 2023 These are interspersed with a live performance at the old Wax Museum. John Kelly, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 The property also includes pathways and meandering trails that wind their way through lush, subtropical landscaping interspersed by native sycamore and oak trees. James McClain, Robb Report, 28 Sep. 2023 These dark clouds and thunderclaps — even interspersed with the occasional roar of an Israeli fighter jet — would usually be a celebratory moment for this family of farmers, an essential lifesource for their olive groves in this otherwise desiccated uplands. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 3 Nov. 2023 Chartreuse hand-crochet tops and dresses are interspersed in this first phase of the show, offering a bold pop of color that nods at one of Anderson’s signature forms. Skylar Mitchell, Essence, 14 Sep. 2023 The show is informative but decidedly informal; its hosts, the critic David Sims and the actor Griffin Newman, sift through their own thoughts and feelings as well as films’ biographical and social context, interspersing genuine insights with endearingly silly riffs. The New Yorker, 25 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'intersperse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of intersperse was in 1566


Dictionary Entries Near intersperse

Cite this Entry

“Intersperse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​ter·​sperse ˌint-ər-ˈspərs How to pronounce intersperse (audio)
interspersed; interspersing
: to set here and there among other things
intersperse pictures in a book
: to vary with things inserted here and there
interspersed the photo album with her poetry
interspersion noun

More from Merriam-Webster on intersperse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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