• Disperse


    • UK IPA: /dɪˈspɜːs/
    • US IPA: /dɪˈspɜ˞s/
    • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)s


    From French disperser, from Latin dispersus, past participle of dispergere ("to scatter abroad, disperse"), from dis- ("apart") + spargere ("to scatter"); see sparse.

    Full definition of disperse


    1. (transitive, intransitive) To scatter in different directionsThe Jews are dispersed among all nations.
      • Bible, Proverbs xv. 7The lips of the wise disperse knowledge.
      • CowperTwo lions, in the still, dark night,
        A herd of beeves disperse.
    2. (transitive, intransitive) To break up and disappear; to dissipate
    3. (transitive, intransitive) To disseminate
    4. (physics, transitive, intransitive) To separate rays of light etc. according to wavelength; to refract
    5. (transitive, intransitive) To distribute throughout

    Usage notes

    Do not confuse with the monetary word disburse, despite similarity.

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