from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To cause to spread out freely.
  • intransitive verb To make known to or cause to be used by large numbers of people; disseminate.
  • intransitive verb To make less brilliant; soften.
  • intransitive verb To make less intense; weaken.
  • intransitive verb Physics To cause to undergo diffusion.
  • intransitive verb To become widely dispersed; spread out.
  • intransitive verb Physics To undergo diffusion.
  • adjective Widely spread or scattered; not concentrated.
  • adjective Wordy or unclear: synonym: wordy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb 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.
  • adjective Poured out; widely spread; not restrained; copious; full; esp., of style, opposed to concise or terse; verbose; prolix
  • intransitive verb To pass by spreading every way, to diffuse itself.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Latin diffusus, past participle of diffundere, from dis- + fundere

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin diffusus


  • 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.

    Surely we should be debating this?

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

    Mysterious Potencies

  • 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.


  • 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.

    Happy Birthday, Buckyballs!

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

    The Vortex of 80,000 Nikes

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

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • 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.


  • 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.

    CNN Transcript Nov 13, 2006

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

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

  • 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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