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

Forecasters said that conditions appear to be favorable for isolated to scattered storms today, and some of them could be strong, with winds up to 60 mph and the potential for hail up to the size of quarters. Leigh Morgan, al, "Heat advisories issued for parts of Alabama on Saturday -- and some storms possible too," 7 Sep. 2019 So, like the rocks themselves, data has been scattered and thus is difficult to collect, van Hinsbergen says. Sid Perkins, Science | AAAS, "Geologists uncover history lost continent buried beneath Europe," 6 Sep. 2019 My first step toward actual, big-picture organization has been to take the many to-do lists scattered across my digital and physical spaces—from desktop Stickies to the Post-Its on my kitchen counter—and put them all into Trello. Amanda Shapiro, Bon Appétit, "It's Good to Be Back," 5 Sep. 2019 Several of these improvised camp sites are scattered around Auroa, and this is where players craft rations, change classes and make healing supplies before heading to battle. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Preview: ‘Ghost Recon Breakpoint’ refines co-op experience with the right group," 3 Sep. 2019 Within the vestibule there are the usual takeout menus and free newspapers scattered on the tiled floor, and someone has once again covered the buzzer panel with stickers advertising a locksmith. Kate Walbert, The New Yorker, "To Do," 26 Aug. 2019 One of the most advanced tools in the chase is the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), which is scattered across multiple European countries and centred near the Dutch town of Exloo. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "The Quest to Unlock the Secrets of the Baby Universe," 26 Aug. 2019 These cruiser bikes, wonderfully scattered and available just about everywhere, are the perfect vehicles for seeing the downtown-Midtown area. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "One Day, One Place: Sacramento," 22 Aug. 2019 In bright beams of headlamps and headlights, the rangers scattered over the lake and began setting up large canvas tents on the ice. Neil Shea, National Geographic, "A thawing Arctic is heating up a new Cold War," 21 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with tarragon, then tear mozzarella and scatter on top. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Pasta with Marinated Cherry Tomato Sauce," 18 July 2019 As the birds scatter, the video clearly shows the right engine suddenly flaring much brighter than the left engine. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "After a Bird Collision, Pilot Saves Jet (With Explosions)," 1 July 2019 When the room scatters, Anarumo sticks around to chat with Taylor and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "24 Hours ... With Bengals Coach Zac Taylor," 25 July 2019 Crumble rosemary leaves over and scatter reserved orange segments and fennel fronds on top. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Roast Sausage and Fennel with Orange," 17 July 2019 The community gathering, however short-lived, can improve everyone’s health before the gang scatters. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Why you should totally go to the pub with your mates when you’ve just been laid off," 8 July 2019 In contrast, the random scatter of dots in the figure on the right shows that labor supply for high-income families is insensitive to the jobless rate. Jared Bernstein, Vox, "Low-income communities are finally feeling the expansion. The Fed is noticing.," 26 June 2019 Direct sunlight is unpolarized — the photons scatter randomly in all directions. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "A Bold Critic of the Big Bang’s ‘Smoking Gun’," 3 July 2014 When Centerville’s animals sense trouble and scatter, Miller calls out for his dog Rumsfeld, a lame joke worthy of the character-assassination film Vice. Armond White, National Review, "The Dead Don’t Die: Climate-Change Comedy for the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez Era," 14 June 2019

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

15 Sep 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 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.

scatter

transitive verb
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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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

Comments on scatter

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