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 More people are being affected by wildfires than in the past because more and more of them are living and working in the wildland-urban interface - areas where human development meets or is interspersed with fire-prone forests. Amanda Coletta, Anchorage Daily News, "Canada’s wildfire season is off to a ferocious start," 11 June 2019 The pace of the melodrama is exhausting as cutbacks to the past are interspersed with abandon. Garrett Mitchell, Detroit Free Press, "Visually appealing ‘Goldfinch’ is far from a masterpiece," 12 Sep. 2019 Beautiful quotes, interspersed throughout the book, offer sometimes poignant and often almost spiritual opportunities for reflection. Sally Peterson, oregonlive, "Homestead Brooklyn founder Summer Rayne Oakes holds book events in Portland," 4 Sep. 2019 In Brazil, researchers are helping locals switch from cattle farming to cacao, which can grow in the shade, interspersed throughout a forest. Matt Simon, WIRED, "New IPCC Report Shows How Our Abuse of Land Drives Climate Change," 8 Aug. 2019 This video — inexplicably interspersed with interior shots of the salon and close-ups of Cardi’s nails — is more of a challenge, with the two figures trying to meet, casually, at the intersection of vastly different contexts. New York Times, "What Can a Star Like Cardi B Do for a Politician Like Sanders?," 11 Sep. 2019 Later in the afternoon, a small crowd at the Lila Cockrell Theatre celebrated her life and accomplishments with speakers’ remarks interspersed with music from the San Antonio Symphony, the Moipei Triplets and Henry Brun. Richard A. Marini,, "San Antonians gather to memorialize legacy of ‘transformational’ Lila Cockrell," 5 Sep. 2019 The space exudes a log-cabin-meets-European-farmhouse vibe, interspersed with cozy nooks and anchored by a bar fashioned with wood from the building’s beams. Layla Khoury-hanold,, "Fresh Marquette: Outdoor sports haven in Michigan’s U.P. serves up booming culinary scene," 28 Aug. 2019 Khris Davis has at times looked positively confused and in his head during some at bats, a struggle interspersed with some typically nice KD swings that connected on Monday. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "‘Doesn’t matter how we win, we just want to win’: Athletics put up season-high 19 runs in win over Royals," 26 Aug. 2019

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

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for intersperse

The first known use of intersperse was in 1566

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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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Comments on intersperse

What made you want to look up intersperse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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