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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wind gusts could scatter embers from the 51,266-acre inferno, creating spot fires to the south in parts of Napa and Sonoma counties. Nora Mishanec, SFChronicle.com, "Tension mounts as forecasts show powerful winds pummeling region near Glass Fire," 1 Oct. 2020 The crowd began to scatter as Seattle police officers finally arrived at the scene. Fox News, "Seattle driver doing 'doughnuts' near Space Needle hits several spectators: report," 27 Sep. 2020 According to the Bay Area Air District, the phenomenon occurs when smoke particles in the air act as filters that scatter out the colors that form the spectrum of visible light. National Geographic, "Foreboding orange skies cast more than a pall over Northern California," 10 Sep. 2020 But those sounds were not projected beyond the circle into the surrounding area, and there were no echoes, since the inner groups of stones served to muddle and scatter the sounds reflected off the outer circle. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "“Stonehenge Lego” scale model reveals the pagan monument’s unique soundscape," 1 Sep. 2020 Add another tablespoon of oil, and scatter the squid evenly over the pan. SFChronicle.com, "Recipes for summer’s bounty: Mains," 16 Sep. 2020 Some families choose to keep the cremated remains, while others bury them, place them in a niche or scatter them. Mark Evely, The Conversation, "When someone dies, what happens to the body?," 15 Sep. 2020 That could create more hazardous conditions for firefighters on the ground, as the vacuum effect ensuing from pyrocumulonimbus kick up erratic winds that can scatter embers. Nora Mishanec, SFChronicle.com, "‘The fire-breathing dragon of clouds’: Formation over Creek Fire thought to be biggest in US history," 10 Sep. 2020 Federal officers used tear gas and crowd-control munitions to scatter the downtown Portland crowds almost nightly. oregonlive, "Trump says ’Portland has been burning for decades,’ excuses supporters who fired paintballs at counterprotesters," 1 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The risk of infectious transmission is lower outside than inside because virus particles tend to scatter and dilute quickly in the air, said Mark Cullen, founding director of the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences. Aidin Vaziri, SFChronicle.com, "How to plan a safe, small Bay Area holiday gathering during pandemic," 18 Oct. 2020 When baiting, scatter rather than making piles or bands. oregonlive, "Fall’s the time to control slugs as they lay eggs for next year," 15 Oct. 2020 The first area of interest is a scatter of showers and thunderstorms associated with an area of low pressure located between the Windward Islands and west Africa. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Hurricane Center monitoring 2 tropical storms, 2 other systems in Atlantic," 2 Sep. 2020 Drizzle with barbecue sauce and scatter pieces of red onion on top. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Flatbreads let your creativity flow," 6 Oct. 2020 Set up tombstones in the yard, scatter fake bones and consider procuring a fog machine for extra effect. Daphne Sashin, CNN, "31 ways to celebrate Halloween this year," 1 Oct. 2020 Eventually the black circle grows big enough that the fish who are watching it get spooked and scatter. Matt Simon, Wired, "Fish Form Social Networks—and They're Actually Good," 29 Sep. 2020 Drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil and scatter with the remaining sesame seeds. Washington Post, "Portobellos With Chickpeas and Tahini," 27 Sep. 2020 For Fanning, whose seemingly flawless complexion and scatter of freckles is something of a calling card, pulling casual, candid attention to this common condition is particularly powerful—not for the stakes, but for the entirely accessible approach. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Elle Fanning Gets Real About Eczema With a Relatable Beauty Moment," 15 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for scatter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for scatter

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scatter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scatter. Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for scatter

scatter

verb
How to pronounce scatter (audio)

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.
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

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Comments on scatter

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