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

  • intransitive verb To drive off or scatter in different directions: synonym: scatter.
  • intransitive verb To strew or distribute widely.
  • intransitive verb To cause to attenuate and disappear.
  • intransitive verb To separate (light) into spectral rays.
  • intransitive verb To distribute (particles) evenly throughout a medium.
  • intransitive verb To separate and move in different directions; scatter.
  • intransitive verb To attenuate and vanish; dissipate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To scatter; separate and send off or drive in different directions; cause to separate in. different directions: as, to disperse a crowd.
  • To distribute; dispense.
  • To diffuse; spread.
  • To make known; publish.
  • To dissipate; cause to vanish: as, the fog is dispersed.
  • Synonyms and
  • Dispel, Scatter, etc. See dissipate.
  • To distribute, deal ont, disseminate, sow broadcast.
  • To separate and move apart in different directions without order or regularity; become scattered: as, the company dispersed at 10 o'clock.
  • To become diffused or spread; spread.
  • To vanish by diffusion; be scattered out of sight.
  • Scattered; dispersed.
  • In optics, to refract by amounts which vary with the wave-length of the refracted ray; separate a composite beam of light, into its components, forming a spectrum. See dispersion, 3.
  • noun One who or that which disperses: as, a disperser of libels.

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

  • intransitive verb To separate; to go or move into different parts; to vanish
  • intransitive verb To distribute wealth; to share one's abundance with others.
  • transitive verb To scatter abroad; to drive to different parts; to distribute; to diffuse; to spread.
  • transitive verb To scatter, so as to cause to vanish; to dissipate.

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

  • verb transitive, intransitive To scatter in different directions
  • verb transitive, intransitive To break up and disappear; to dissipate
  • verb transitive, intransitive To disseminate
  • verb physics, transitive, intransitive To separate rays of light etc. according to wavelength; to refract
  • verb transitive, intransitive To distribute throughout

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

  • verb separate (light) into spectral rays
  • verb cause to separate
  • verb cause to become widely known
  • verb distribute loosely
  • verb to cause to separate and go in different directions
  • verb move away from each other


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

[Middle English dispersen, from Old French disperser, from Latin dispergere, dispers-, to disperse : dis-, apart; see dis– + spargere, to scatter.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


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  • They include Brenna Bell, an Oregon-based attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, who claims she was arrested while trying to obey police orders to disperse from a peaceful demonstration.

    November 2003 2003

  • With the last investigation, however, we have gone beyond the field of actual colloid chemistry, although the solution of a radioactive substance, e.g. polonium chloride, can naturally be called a disperse system, though more accurately it is molecular-disperse because the substance dissolved in the solvent occurs here as molecules, not as molecular aggregates, as is the case in a colloidal solution.

    Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1926 - Presentation Speech 1966

  • London cops have been given the power to "disperse" anyone under 16, gathered in groups of two or more, from almost all of central London, after 9PM.

    Boing Boing 2009

  • As the science journal Nature reported, "they help large globs of oil 'disperse' into smaller pieces -- hence their name -- which are easier for sea-living microbes to break down."

    Elaine Shannon: Why Are Dispersant Chemicals Secret? 2010

  • A large number of people started to kind of disperse, but there are many people here -- thousands of people, still standing around playing music, chanting, making their voices heard.

    CNN Transcript May 1, 2006 2006

  • The note of war has been sounded, and in the imperial proclamation, recently issued, the people of the Confederate States and all who sympathize with them are treated as rebels, and twenty days is allowed them to "disperse" and return to their allegiance to the authorities at Washington.

    Senate journal of the second extra session of the thirty-third General Assembly of the state of Tennessee : which convened at Nashville on Thursday, the 25th day of April, A. D. 1861, Tennessee. General Assembly. Senate 1861

  • But that's only the tip of the iceberg: You need to take a look at the underwater impact of the oil geyser and the dangerous chemicals BP is using to "disperse" it - effects that could last for decades, even if the risky "Top Kill" maneuver to plug the well works.

    WHAT REALLY HAPPENED denmason 2010

  • Though BP should have to pay for the loses they have created,,, there is no authority for Obama to tell them to put money in this fund for someone of their choosing to 'disperse'.

    Propeller Most Popular Stories 2010

  • BP dumps over a million gallons of toxic old stocks of Corexit 9527A & 9500 into the Gulf to "disperse" the oil. - Articles related to RIL, Essar eye BP Africa assets 2010

  • BP dumps over a million gallons of toxic old stocks of Corexit 9527A & 9500 into the Gulf to "disperse" the oil. - Business News 2010


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