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

Their beehive tents were scattered across a stony valley. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 The rest of the guesses were scattered between these two extremes, with the average estimate being 2099 — 81 years from now. James Vincent, The Verge, "This is when AI’s top researchers think artificial general intelligence will be achieved," 27 Nov. 2018 The children have been scattered to shelters around the country. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Fort Bliss in Texas may house 12,000 migrants detained at the border," 27 June 2018 Toys were scattered around the rooftop kindergarten. Darran Anderson, The Atlantic, "The Cities That Never Existed," 17 June 2018 Add the milk all at once by scattering it over the dough. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Edna Lewis’ Lard Biscuits," 1 June 2018 The trees are adorned with white twinkly lights; little crowns are scattered everywhere; and the staircases are covered in greenery with multicolored ornaments. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Royal Family's Christmas Decorations Are the Polar Opposite of the White House's," 4 Dec. 2018 Its 50 keys are scattered among luxury rustic-style cottages that sit alongside a creek on 3,000 pristine acres that are yours for hiking, skeet shooting, fishing and ranching. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "If You're Skiing the Rockies This Winter, Read This First," 4 Dec. 2018 Cushions are scattered on soft seating and plain white and wooden tables have been replaced with attractive mosaic ones. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Tells the Women of the Hubb Community Kitchen She's So "Happy" to Be Pregnant," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

6 Jan 2019

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

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