disperse

1
as in to dissipate
to go off in different directions and cease to exist as a body or unified whole the crowd dispersed once the show ended

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2
3
as in to disband
to cease to exist or cause to cease to exist as a group or organization the campaign staff dispersed almost immediately after the election

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Antonyms & Near Antonyms

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How does the verb disperse differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of disperse are dispel, dissipate, and scatter. While all these words mean "to cause to separate or break up," disperse implies a wider separation and a complete breaking up of a mass or group.

police dispersed the crowd

When can dispel be used instead of disperse?

Although the words dispel and disperse have much in common, dispel stresses a driving away or getting rid of as if by scattering.

an authoritative statement that dispelled all doubt

When could dissipate be used to replace disperse?

The meanings of dissipate and disperse largely overlap; however, dissipate stresses complete disintegration or dissolution and final disappearance.

the fog was dissipated by the morning sun

When would scatter be a good substitute for disperse?

The words scatter and disperse can be used in similar contexts, but scatter implies a force that drives parts or units irregularly in many directions.

the bowling ball scattered the pins

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Cite this Entry

“Disperse.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/disperse. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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