Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To pour out and cause to spread freely.
  • transitive v. To spread about or scatter; disseminate.
  • transitive v. To make less brilliant; soften.
  • intransitive v. To become widely dispersed; spread out.
  • intransitive v. Physics To undergo diffusion.
  • adj. Widely spread or scattered; not concentrated.
  • adj. Characterized by verbosity; wordy. See Synonyms at wordy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Everywhere or throughout everything; not focused or concentrated.
  • v. To spread over or through as in air, water, or other matter, especially by fluid motion or passive means.
  • v. To be spread over or through as in air, water, or other matter, especially by fluid motion or passive means.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Poured out; widely spread; not restrained; copious; full; esp., of style, opposed to concise or terse; verbose; prolix
  • intransitive v. To pass by spreading every way, to diffuse itself.
  • transitive v. To pour out and cause to spread, as a fluid; to cause to flow on all sides; to send out, or extend, in all directions; to spread; to circulate; to disseminate; to scatter; as to diffuse information.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pour out and spread, as a fluid; cause to flow and spread.
  • To spread abroad; scatter; send out or extend in all directions.
  • Synonyms To scatter, disseminate, circulate, disperse, distribute, propagate.
  • To spread, as a fluid, by the wandering of its molecules in amongst those of a contiguous fluid.
  • Widely spread or diffused; extended; dispersed; scattered.
  • Specifically
  • In pathology, spreading widely and having no distinctively defined limits: as, a diffuse inflammation or suppuration: opposed to circumscribed.
  • In boto, spreading widely and loosely.
  • In embryology, applied to a form of non-deciduate placenta in which the fetal villi form a broad belt.
  • In zoology, sparse; few and scattered, as markings; especially, in entomology, said of punctures, etc., when they are less thickly set than on a neighboring part from which they appear to be scattered off.
  • Prolix; using many words; verbose; rambling: said of speakers and writers or their style.
  • Hard to understand; perplexing; requiring extended effort.
  • Synonyms Loose, rambling, wordy, long-winded, diluted, spun out.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move outward
  • adj. lacking conciseness
  • adj. (of light) transmitted from a broad light source or reflected
  • v. spread or diffuse through
  • v. cause to become widely known
  • adj. spread out; not concentrated in one place

Etymologies

From Middle English, dispersed, from Anglo-Norman diffus, from Latin diffūsus, past participle of diffundere, to spread : dis-, out, apart; see dis- + fundere, to pour; see gheu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Latin diffusus, past participle of diffundere, from dis- + fundere (Wiktionary)
Latin diffusus (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This crisis has arisen, the Prof says, because intensive cultivation has given rise to an upward trend in "diffuse" pollution from nitrates and phosphates which is proving difficult to reverse.

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  • The object is felt to say something succinctly and forcibly that the inner vision reports vaguely, in diffuse feeling rather than organically.

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  • DESCRIPTION: Also called St. Anthony's Fire, erysipelas is characterized by diffuse inflammation of the skin, or of the subcutaneous cellular tissue, usually with accompanying fever.

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  • And in 1995, with Mike Jura at UCLA, we published a paper suggesting that if it was in space, it should be responsible for some very puzzling features that have been known for 90 years called the diffuse interstellar bands.

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  • How about the definition for the word diffuse, courtesy of Dictionary. com?

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  • There are theories that Marie may have had a medical condition termed diffuse alopecia areata, which can result in sudden hair loss.

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  • We can see similar processes taking place today in so-called diffuse nebulae in this and other galaxies - such as the nebula M16, shown above left.

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  • So it's very common, and the manifestations are very diffuse, which is one of the main reasons why it is so underdiagnosed in this country.

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  • Gross was able to collect but 18 examples; but closely allied to this condition is what is known as diffuse hypertrophy of the breast.

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  • But if the book were being published this month, instead of last month, the term would be '99 percenters,' referring to the diffuse, leaderless resistance movement's statement: 'The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.'

    NYT > Home Page

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