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
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
Recent Examples on the Web
But the impractical value is likely larger; to be in the presence of a giant is for some reason calming—the air felt tranquil here, the sunlight scattered, the wind stilled.—Bill McKibben, The New Yorker, 23 Nov. 2023 On Zoom calls with Wang and Daniel Guillemette, a senior producer for Serial, the two musicians had woodwinds, horns, keyboards and whatnot scattered about, visible in their background.—Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, 22 Nov. 2023 And again, Ghada and her family are now in Rafah and Khan Yunis, scattered across multiple houses.—Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Nov. 2023 When the supercontinent broke apart, and India drifted northeast to its current position, the Seychelles were scattered behind like breadcrumbs.—Frank Hulley-Jones, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2023 And without such policies, this new target seemed like a cruel promise to those for whom the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius is their livelihoods—mostly the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) scattered across the world’s oceans.—WIRED, 15 Nov. 2023 Withlacoochee Bay is scattered with similar small, uninhabited islands.—Richard Lardner, Fortune, 13 Nov. 2023 Jackals and vultures followed, then the hyenas, who would eventually scatter the bones.—Honor Moore, Travel + Leisure, 12 Nov. 2023 Spoon the apple mixture into the chilled piecrust, mounding it in the center and scattering cubes of butter over the fruit.—Marianne Williams, Southern Living, 11 Nov. 2023
Rapid-fire gunshots can be heard and people on the sidewalk scatter.—Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 25 Aug. 2023 His property is exactly the aesthetic the F & F production people are trying to fake, with a genuine scatter of cars and cycles, a school bus, an old Volvo, mysteriously torched.—Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 5 Jan. 2023 When the water is stagnant and still, the bass scatter, suspend, and become hard to catch.—Shaye Baker, Field & Stream, 18 Apr. 2023 And follows in the trail the scatter of light.—Jason Lamphier, EW.com, 31 Oct. 2022 While there’s some scatter, the pattern of better results in late afternoon is very pronounced, with a lot of thick, dark, non-dashed lines.—Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 19 Sep. 2021 There is, of course, plenty of scatter: the study applied to real-world runners in real-world marathons.—Richard A. Lovett, Outside Online, 6 Oct. 2020 The surprising thing is that people seemed to underestimate African ancestry from apparent physical features (looking at the scatter of apparent to genomic ancestry).—Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2012 Aerosols can both absorb and scatter radiation from the sun.—Kasha Patel, Anchorage Daily News, 31 Jan. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scatter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English scateren, schateren to disperse, break up, destroy; akin to Middle Dutch schaderen to scatter