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

Spreading, rather than grouping art Rule: Gather, don’t scatter multiple elements on a wall. Marni Jameson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "7 mistakes rookie DIY decorators make," 13 July 2018 Most sarcophagi are found already opened, their contents taken away and the bones of the mummies sometimes found scattered by looters. Owen Jarus, Scientific American, "Discovery of Massive Granite Sarcophagus Presents Mystery of Who Is Inside," 12 July 2018 After disruption, the asteroid fragments were blown by the wind while falling down, scattering over a wide area. James Rogers, Fox News, "Asteroid discovery: Rare space rock fragment found," 9 July 2018 While the appearance of scooters scattered everywhere has rankled city officials and residents, these services offer an in-between alternative between walking and hailing a car. Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, "A Taste of Lime: Uber Invests in an Electric Scooter Company," 9 July 2018 Here’s where to go The storms are likely to be isolated, but there's a chance they could be scattered instead. Alex Harris, miamiherald, "Keep an eye on the sky before you leave for fireworks. There might be thunderstorms.," 3 July 2018 Tiny cardinals and hummingbirds can be seen scattered throughthe decor of the 4,000-square-foot home. Louisville Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Blast from the past: This Glenmary home is a collector's paradise," 28 June 2018 This dramatic coloring is actually caused by Earth’s atmosphere, which scatters light from the sun and casts it onto the face of the moon. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "Total lunar eclipse will turn the moon blood red later this month," 13 July 2018 The focus is as scattered as Wayne’s wild werewolf brood, practically forgetting about Drac’s son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg) and beloved grandson, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), the second film’s center, in favor of continuous gags. Kimber Walsh, latimes.com, "Review: 'Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation' hits the open seas with its creature comforts intact," 12 July 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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Statistics for scatter

Last Updated

10 Nov 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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