scatter

verb
scat·​ter | \ ˈska-tər How to pronounce scatter (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from scatter

Verb

scatterer \ ˈska-​tər-​ər How to pronounce scatterer (audio) \ 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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

America, China and India are rapidly increasing their destructive capabilities: blinding military satellites with lasers, jamming their signals to Earth or even blowing them up, causing debris to scatter across the cosmos. The Economist, "A new age of space exploration is beginning," 18 July 2019 My favorite way to serve this dish is to scatter the slices of meat on a plate and cover them in an acidic mixture of raw scallions and tomatillos, with charred scallions and tomatillos served alongside. Alison Roman, New York Times, "Short Ribs for Summer, Doused With Salsa," 15 July 2019 In fact, the society's owners plan to scatter them throughout the space, in two indoor bars, an outdoor cigar bar and a lounge area. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's downtown betting club means big bucks for Churchill. But how much is a secret," 24 June 2019 Isolated to scattered tstorms today across the north. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "First day of summer is ‘oppressively’ hot, but not record hot," 20 June 2019 Its distribution and depth are not well understood, but the ice appears to be sparsely scattered throughout the walls and floors of permanently shadowed regions at both lunar poles. National Geographic, "Why the moon's south pole may be the hottest destination in space," 9 May 2019 The bike-share legislation, passed unanimously, allows up to four companies to operate in the city, each paying $250,000 for the right to scatter up to 5,000 bikes on the city’s sidewalks. David Gutman, The Seattle Times, "City Council approves new bike-share rules, prompting ofo to leave Seattle," 31 July 2018 The homes, scattered throughout Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties, are expected to see power restored Wednesday, said DTE representative Eric Younan. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "17K metro Detroit homes still without power after Tuesday night storms," 3 July 2019 Tablescapes matched the vibe of the couple's ceremony, with their floral designer, FLORES KL, scattering palm fronds, candles, tropical arrangements and some fruit throughout the design. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Love Story Behind Singer-Songwriter Yuna & Filmmaker Adam Sinclair's Wedding in the Malaysian Jungle," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In contrast, the random scatter of dots in the figure on the right shows that labor supply for high-income families is insensitive to the jobless rate. Jared Bernstein, Vox, "Low-income communities are finally feeling the expansion. The Fed is noticing.," 26 June 2019 Direct sunlight is unpolarized — the photons scatter randomly in all directions. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "A Bold Critic of the Big Bang’s ‘Smoking Gun’," 3 July 2014 When Centerville’s animals sense trouble and scatter, Miller calls out for his dog Rumsfeld, a lame joke worthy of the character-assassination film Vice. Armond White, National Review, "The Dead Don’t Die: Climate-Change Comedy for the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez Era," 14 June 2019 That simple three-dot line is now a confusing scatter plot led by Jeanie Buss, Rob Pelinka, Kurt Rambis, Linda Rambis, Tim Harris, Jesse Buss and Joey Buss, who were all involved in the recent disorganized coaching search. Arash Markazi, latimes.com, "Clippers shed ‘little brother’ status while Lakers lean on legacy," 8 June 2019 Dopamine is the chemical that fosters learning and memory, so the novelty of doing something new scatters the chemical throughout your brain. Denise Foley, Good Housekeeping, "What's Your Emotional Eating Quotient?," 10 Oct. 2012 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scatter

Statistics for scatter

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scatter

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce scatter (audio) \
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 How to pronounce scatter (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!