verb (dispersed; dispersing) Etymology: Middle English, from Latin dispersus, past participle of dispergere to scatter, from dis- + spargere to scatter — more at spark Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. a. to cause to break up <
police dispersed the crowd
b. to cause to become spread widely c. to cause to evaporate or vanish <
sunlight dispersing the mist
2. to spread or distribute from a fixed or constant source: as a. archaic disseminate b. to subject (as light) to dispersion c. to distribute (as fine particles) more or less evenly throughout a medium intransitive verb 1. to break up in random fashion <
the crowd dispersed on request
2. a. to become dispersed b. dissipate, vanish <
the fog dispersed toward morning
Synonyms: see scatterdispersedly adverbdisperser noundispersible adjective

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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  • disperse — late 14c., from L. dispersus, pp. of dispergere to scatter, from dis apart, in every direction (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + spargere to scatter (see SPARSE (Cf. sparse)). The Latin word is glossed in O.E. by tostregdan. Related: Dispersed; …   Etymology dictionary

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  • disperse — ► VERB 1) go or distribute in different directions or over a wide area. 2) thin out and eventually disappear. 3) Physics divide (light) into constituents of different wavelengths. DERIVATIVES dispersal noun disperser noun dispersible adjective… …   English terms dictionary

  • disperse — [di spʉrs′] vt. dispersed, dispersing [ME dispersen < L dispersus, pp. of dispergere, to scatter abroad < dis , out + spargere, to scatter, strew: see SPARK1] 1. to break up and scatter in all directions; spread about; distribute widely 2.… …   English World dictionary

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