intersperse

verb
in·​ter·​sperse | \ ˌin-tər-ˈspərs How to pronounce intersperse (audio) \
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 How to pronounce interspersion (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

So for those who want their moments of intimacy interspersed with a mediocre history lesson, look no further. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "15 Netflix Shows With the Hottest Sex Scenes You Need to Watch," 21 Dec. 2018 Pick a few to add to your dynamic warm-up, or intersperse them throughout your regular workout to show your hips some love. SELF, "5 Lunges Everyone With Tight Hips Should Do," 22 Feb. 2019 The result turned out to be a social media strategy that intersperses grim public safety announcements with glowing chairs, flying toasters, and giant sheep. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Why a government agency is spreading memes about dogs riding pigeons," 29 Oct. 2018 Today, the floor of the Quijos Valley is mostly cattle pasture, interspersed with islands of forest, while the cloud forest still clings to the steeper slopes of the valley, high above the banks of the Rio Quijos. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Supposedly pristine South American forest had been pre-Columbian farmland," 17 July 2018 In another, scenes of Felix brooding alone in a room gradually filling with water are interspersed with images of bleeding black African bodies that disappear beneath the landscape. Julie Belcove, WSJ, "William Kentridge Tackles the History of Apartheid and Colonialism in His Latest Production," 4 Dec. 2018 All this seriousness was interspersed with kooky characters like Pandemonia, the aforementioned human cartoon, as well as socialites and art lovers. Vogue, "Inside Frieze London With Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis," 9 Oct. 2018 Sure, there are jokes interspersed, but the scene is a loving evocation of a specific place, time, and culture. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2 is a dazzling confection with a slightly bitter aftertaste," 5 Dec. 2018 One of the artisans, Caroline, is realizing a tassel-like pattern interspersed with pastel stones and fine gold chain. Amy Verner, Vogue, "Vogue Got an Exclusive Tour of Chanel’s Ateliers While Tonight’s Métiers d’Art Collection Was Being Made," 5 Dec. 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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Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intersperse

The first known use of intersperse was in 1566

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More Definitions for intersperse

intersperse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of intersperse

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

intersperse

verb
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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