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 season is a collision of worlds, blasting together items and biomes from across time and space and scattering them across the map. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Fortnite Season 5 Is Here, and the Rest of the Week in Games," 13 July 2018 There are specimens in the press and scattered across worktables, from a community project Van Aken has been leading in the gallery. Barbara Schreiber, charlotteobserver, "This artist ‘sculpts’ in living trees and fruit. Here’s what he’s doing now in Charlotte," 11 July 2018 Made to order, my bowl arrived with plumes of steam circling above, vibrant slices of green onion scattered across the surface. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "Ngon Appetit keeps it simple with 3 items — soup, sandwiches, crepes," 11 July 2018 This sweeping design carries over to the interior of the property, with a central living room under an arched ceiling and winding staircases that branch off to bedrooms and common spaces scattered across three stories. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Sculptural steel home built into a 19th-century railway bridge wants $1.4M," 9 July 2018 America’s first prisoners of war in the city were packed inside Quaker, Anabaptist or Presbyterian churches scattered across the tip of Manhattan Island. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "‘Turn out your dead!’ In America’s War for Independence, POWs paid a terrible price.," 4 July 2018 Indians starter Alex McRae scattered three hits over seven innings, striking out eight and walking only one. Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis Indians complete sweep of Toledo," 27 June 2018 The righthander scattered six hits, walked none, and struck out nine in seven innings. Matt Breen, Philly.com, "Phillies shut out by Yankees as defense fails Jake Arrieta again," 26 June 2018 Morton scattered four hits during six innings of three-run baseball, obviously an upgrade from his last effort. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Evan Gattis' grand slam lifts Astros over Royals," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Air molecules and particulates in it—things like water molecules, dust, and smoke particles—scatter and absorb laser light, resulting in a loss of power. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "How the Military Will Be Revolutionized By Laser Weaponry," 11 Mar. 2016 Cape Town, South Africa, was the family’s first trip after Jerry’s death, the place of the first ash scatter. Laurie Eynon, ajc, "Personal Journeys: 100 places to scatter his ashes," 1 June 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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Learn More about scatter

Phrases Related to scatter

scatter cushion

Statistics for scatter

Last Updated

1 Sep 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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Comments on scatter

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