scat·​ter·​ing | \ ˈska-tə-riŋ How to pronounce scattering (audio) \

Definition of scattering

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or process in which something scatters or is scattered
2 : something scattered: such as
a : a small number or quantity interspersed here and there a scattering of visitors
b : the random change in direction of the particles constituting a beam or wave front due to collision with particles of the medium traversed



Definition of scattering (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : going in various directions
2 : found or placed far apart and in no order
3 : divided among many or several scattering votes

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Other Words from scattering


scatteringly \ ˈska-​tə-​riŋ-​lē How to pronounce scatteringly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of scattering in a Sentence

Noun the scattering of the protesters suddenly turned violent and chaotic a scattering of people in the mostly empty theater
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At Grand Isle State Park, on a sandy beach popular with sunbathers and anglers, Jace Tunnell pointed to the tide line and its usual scattering of litter: milk jugs, water bottles, candy wrappers, plastic bags. Tristan Baurick,, "'Nurdle Patrol' survey finds plastic pellets on almost every Louisiana and Texas beach," 19 Sep. 2020 There's also a scattering of new customizable and interactive watch faces and a couple new bands, including new leather and silicone options. Samuel Axon And Corey Gaskin, Ars Technica, "The Apple Watch Series 6 adds blood-oxygen monitoring and more," 15 Sep. 2020 The Battle of Endor, which precedes the game, results in the death of Emperor Palpatine and the scattering of Imperial forces. Brittany Vincent, CNN Underscored, "Star Wars: Squadrons is a modern take on the X-Wing series," 1 Oct. 2020 When the Hoosiers reunited following the scattering of the pandemic, Williams, in particular, was one of the players who took the biggest leap in his conditioning level. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "Will Hoosiers CB Jaylin Williams' maturity translate into more production?," 29 Sep. 2020 Promoted as champion from the English second flight last season, Leeds put on a command performance to push Liverpool all the way in a match that would have graced a packed stadium rather than a scattering of squad players and officials. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Mo Salah hat trick sinks Leeds in seven-goal Premier League thriller," 12 Sep. 2020 And in the physics of light scattering, size matters. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Those Orange Western Skies and the Science of Light," 10 Sep. 2020 The iconic Pool Bar is out, replaced by a broad patch of artificial turf topped by a scattering of wooden picnic tables. Ben Crandell,, "What happened to America’s Backyard bar in Fort Lauderdale?," 5 Sep. 2020 But Greece owns a scattering of islands that lie just a few miles off the Turkish coast, so Athens claims that its continental shelf extends into Turkey’s coastal waters. Nick Squires, The Christian Science Monitor, "Mediterranean frenemies face off: Greece, Turkey at ‘the abyss’," 1 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scattering.' 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 scattering


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for scattering

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for scattering

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scattering.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for scattering


How to pronounce scattering (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scattering

: a small number or group of things or people that are seen or found at different places or times



Medical Definition of scattering

: the random change in direction of the particles constituting a beam or wave front due to collision with particles of the medium traversed

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