scatter

verb
scat·​ter | \ˈska-tər \
scattered; scattering; scatters

Definition of scatter 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to separate widely

b : to cause to vanish

2 archaic : to fling away heedlessly : squander

3 : to distribute irregularly

4 : to sow by casting in all directions : strew

5a : to reflect irregularly and diffusely

b : to cause (a beam of radiation) to diffuse or disperse

6 : to divide into ineffectual small portions

intransitive verb

1 : to separate and go in various directions : disperse

2 : to occur or fall irregularly or at random

scatter

noun

Definition of scatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of scattering

2 : a small quantity or number irregularly distributed or strewn about : scattering

3 : the state or extent of being scattered especially : dispersion

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Other Words from scatter

Verb

scatterer \ˈska-​tər-​ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for scatter

Verb

scatter, disperse, dissipate, dispel mean to cause to separate or break up. scatter implies a force that drives parts or units irregularly in many directions. the bowling ball scattered the pins disperse implies a wider separation and a complete breaking up of a mass or group. police dispersed the crowd dissipate stresses complete disintegration or dissolution and final disappearance. the fog was dissipated by the morning sun dispel stresses a driving away or getting rid of as if by scattering. an authoritative statement that dispelled all doubt

Examples of scatter in a Sentence

Verb

The wind scattered the pile of leaves. The marbles scattered across the floor. She scattered the books on the table. He scatters his toys all around the house.

Noun

played before only a scatter of spectators in that huge stadium
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This, like Paradise, was a place for retirement, and the fire has scattered families across the state. Scott Wilson, The Seattle Times, "Nearly a month after the Camp Fire began razing their towns, Californians return to ruin," 5 Dec. 2018 At first, the couple envisioned a flourishing nursery with a Southern Living-style cottage garden among the longleaf pines and scattered oaks. Kate Santich, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lake couple create haven for rare Scrub-Jays and young fans," 6 July 2018 The carcasses of cars, paint scorched off and tires melted, were scattered along the streets. Umair Irfan/Vox The homes in Paradise are now almost all flattened save for their brick chimneys stubbornly standing firm. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The Paradise fire is catastrophic. And the wildfire threat to California is only growing.," 17 Nov. 2018 Toss the spinach with the lemon juice, then scatter the leaves on top. Joe Yonan, The Seattle Times, "Vegetarian (or vegan) guests for Thanksgiving? Serve them this beauty," 13 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, people are dying to get into Disney World — the theme park has become a favorite spot to scatter family ashes. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Twitter earnings, Why the stock market is falling," 25 Oct. 2018 Add apple and remaining cheese, toss, then scatter over prepared dough. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Apple, Sweet Potato, and Rosemary Flatbread," 9 Oct. 2018 Mostly Turkish or Kurdish-run, around 20,000 kebab shops are scattered across the U.K. in total—all easily identifiable, thanks to the trunk of meat that slowly revolves on a skewer in the window. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Love Letter To The Döner Kebab," 1 Oct. 2018 New Bern's residential streets are lined by debris, including siding and furniture, with sofa cushions and mattresses scattered about. Fox News, "The Latest: Trump assures South Carolina as flooding lingers," 19 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Before every show, Owen E. Parmele (top), the head of the show’s props department, scatters trash all over the set. New York Times, "Ravaged but Resilient: Creating ‘Once on This Island’," 27 Apr. 2018 Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart. House Beautiful, "Ina Garten's Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts," 28 Aug. 2010 Air on Earth scatters shorter-wavelength light, including most of the blues and greens (which trickle down to us on the planet’s surface), leaving the longer reds to spotlight the moon. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse Will Shroud the Moon This Month," 2 July 2018 This employs long-wavelength light to penetrate into and scatter from biological tissues, building up a three-dimensional picture of that tissue. The Economist, "The eye's structure holds information about the health of the mind," 28 June 2018 Toss shallots with remaining teaspoon oil and scatter around chicken. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Whatever You Do, Do NOT Tell Ina Garten About Jennifer Garner’s Favorite Soup Hack," 22 May 2018 Generously drizzle with oil and scatter chile over. Claire Saffitz, Bon Appetit, "Wilted Greens in Tomato-Bacon Broth," 28 May 2018 Toss shallots with remaining teaspoon oil and scatter around chicken. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Whatever You Do, Do NOT Tell Ina Garten About Jennifer Garner’s Favorite Soup Hack," 22 May 2018 To reduce the chances of extensive damage, scatter-plant onions throughout the garden. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Onions," 1 Feb. 2018

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scatter

Verb

Middle English scateren, schateren to disperse, break up, destroy; akin to Middle Dutch schaderen to scatter

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Statistics for scatter

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scatter

The first known use of scatter was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for scatter

scatter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of scatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (things or people) to separate and go in different directions

: to separate and go in different directions

: to place or leave (things) in different places

scatter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of scatter (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small number or group of things placed or found apart from each other

scatter

verb
scat·​ter | \ˈska-tər \
scattered; scattering

Kids Definition of scatter

1 : to toss, sow, or place here and there He scattered his toys all around the house.

2 : to separate or cause to separate and go in different ways The crowd suddenly scattered.

scatter

transitive verb
scat·​ter | \ˈskat-ər \

Medical Definition of scatter 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (a beam of radiation) to diffuse or disperse

scatter

noun

Medical Definition of scatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of scattering

2 : the state or extent of being scattered especially : scattering

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More from Merriam-Webster on scatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scatter

Spanish Central: Translation of scatter

Nglish: Translation of scatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scatter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scatter

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