scatter


scatter
scatter 1 Scatter, disperse, dissipate, dispel can mean to cause a group, mass, or assemblage to separate or break up.
Scatter may imply the use or operation of force which drives the persons or things in different directions
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the hurricane scattered the ships of the fleet

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the heavy assault scattered the troops

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the wind scattered the leaves

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but the whip—in fancy he cracked it aloft and sent his adversaries scatteringHervey

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On the other hand, scatter may imply little more than throwing or casting so that the things thrown will fall by or as if by chance
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scatter pennies

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scatter seeds

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Disperse usually implies a wider separation of the units than scatter and a complete breaking up of the mass or assemblage
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the rain quickly dispersed the crowd

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in a few years, the Bureau was dismembered, its staff dispersedHeiser

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a sea where all the ships in the world might be so dispersed as that none should see another— Cowper

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Dissipate suggests definitely the idea of complete disintegration or dissolution (as by evaporation, crumbling, squandering, or blowing away) and consequent vanishing
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the sun dissipates the mist

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dissipated her energy in futile efforts

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from the far-off wooded hills the haze ... had not yet dissipated—D. H. Lawrence

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had a small patrimony . . . that he dissipated before he left college— Meredith

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Dispel carries less suggestion of separation of units or particles than any of these words but it stresses a driving away as if by scattering of something that clouds, confuses, or bothers
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the rising sun dispelled the darkness

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a blind man whose darkness no street lamp can dispelShaw

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truth and frankness dispel difficulties— Russell

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if there were any lingering doubts in his mind they were dispelled by an incident which occurred ... on February 17— Shirer

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Analogous words: *throw, cast, fling, toss: *distribute, dispense, divide: *discard, shed, cast
Contrasted words: *accumulate, amass, hoard: collect, *gather, assemble: *compact, concentrate
2 *strew, straw, broadcast, sow
Analogous words: *spread, disseminate: *sprinkle, besprinkle

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Scatter — Scat ter, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Scattered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Scattering}.] [OE. scateren. See {Shatter}.] 1. To strew about; to sprinkle around; to throw down loosely; to deposit or place here and there, esp. in an open or sparse order. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scatter — ● scatter nom masculin (anglais to scatter, disperser) Dispersion relative des résultats partiels obtenus par un sujet à une batterie de tests. scatter [skatɛʀ] n. m. ÉTYM. 1968; mot angl., de to scatter « éparpiller, disperser ». ❖ ♦ Anglic.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • scatter — scat‧ter [ˈskætə ǁ ər] noun [uncountable] MARKETING used to talk about advertising that is spread over a wide range of television or radio programmes according to what is available, rather than done by selecting particular programmes to sponsor:… …   Financial and business terms

  • scatter — [skat′ər] vt. [ME skateren, ult. < IE * sked , to split, disperse < base * sek , to cut > L secare] 1. a) to throw here and there or strew loosely; sprinkle b) to sprinkle over (with) something 2. to separate and drive in many… …   English World dictionary

  • Scatter — Scat ter, v. i. To be dispersed or dissipated; to disperse or separate; as, clouds scatter after a storm. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scatter — index break (fracture), deploy, diffuse, disband, disburse (distribute), dislocate, disorganize …   Law dictionary

  • scatter — (v.) mid 12c., possibly a northern English variant of M.E. schateren (see SHATTER (Cf. shatter)), reflecting Norse influence. Related: Scattered; scattering. Scattershot (adj.) is attested from 1961; figurative use of term for a kind of gun… …   Etymology dictionary

  • scatter — [v] strew, disperse besprinkle, broadcast, cast, derange, diffuse, disband, discard, disject, dispel, disseminate, dissipate, distribute, disunite, diverge, divide, expend, fling, intersperse, litter, migrate, part, pour, put to flight*, run away …   New thesaurus

  • scatter — ► VERB 1) throw in various random directions. 2) separate and move off in different directions. 3) (be scattered) occur or be found at various places rather than all together. 4) Physics deflect or diffuse (electromagnetic radiation or particles) …   English terms dictionary

  • Scatter — In ordinary English, to scatter is to distribute randomly. Scatter also has the following meanings: *In physics, scattering is the study of collisions, especially of waves and particles (synonymous in quantum mechanics). In elastic scattering the …   Wikipedia


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