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

  • noun The act or process of dispersing.
  • noun The state of being dispersed.
  • noun The Diaspora of the Jews.
  • noun Statistics The degree of scatter of data, usually about an average value, such as the median.
  • noun Separation of a complex wave into its component parts according to a given characteristic, such as frequency or wavelength.
  • noun Separation of visible light into colors by refraction or diffraction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In physiol, optics, the blurring of the retinal image due to faulty accommodation.
  • noun In botany, the distribution of seeds and of plants by various means, as by the wind, by birds and animals, etc.
  • noun The tendency of material particles or bodies, including conscious individuals, to go apart, as from a center; hence, in the phenomena of population, the continual breaking down and dispersing of aggregations, counteracting a tendency toward concentration. See law of *aggregation.
  • noun The act of dispersing or scattering.
  • noun The state of being dispersed or scattered abroad: as, the dispersion of the Jews.
  • noun In optics, the separation of the different colored rays in refraction, arising from their different, wave-lengths.
  • noun In medicine and surgery, the scattering or removal of inflammation from a part and the restoration of the part to its natural state.
  • noun In mathematics, the excess of the average value of a function at less than an infinitesimal distance from a point over the value at that point, this excess being divided by 1/10 of the square of the limiting infinitesimal distance.

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

  • noun The act or process of scattering or dispersing, or the state of being scattered or separated
  • noun (Opt.) The separation of light into its different colored rays, arising from their different refrangibilities.
  • noun (Crystallog.) the separation of the optic axes in biaxial crystals, due to the fact that the axial angle has different values for the different colors of the spectrum.

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

  • noun The state of being dispersed; dispersedness.
  • noun A process of dispersing.
  • noun The degree of scatter of data.
  • noun optics The separation of visible light by refraction or diffraction.
  • noun medicine The removal of inflammation.

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

  • noun the act of dispersing or diffusing something
  • noun the spatial or geographic property of being scattered about over a range, area, or volume
  • noun spreading widely or driving off


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • The particular works of each are manifestations of the general character of his lifework, whether it was of faith and love whereby alone we can please God and escape condemnation. pass -- Greek, "conduct yourselves during." sojourning -- The outward state of the Jews in their dispersion is an emblem of the sojourner-like state of all believers in this world, away from our true Fatherland. fear -- reverential, not slavish.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible 1871

  • A very famous and well-known example of dispersion is illustrated on the cover of a classic Pink Floyd album:

    Optics basics: Defining the velocity of a wave « Skulls in the Stars 2008

  • In any case, in this example, dispersion is acceptable.

    Obliterating Animal Carcasses With Explosives 2001

  • This, however, was not soon to be done; the dispersion from the meadow having been made in every possible direction.

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth 1796

  • The institution of the period survey has ensured that this concept remains central to the distribution of cultural credentials, and literary cultivation has frequently been represented as Foucault represents genealogy: as a historical refraction of the self that locates a paradoxical sort of immortality in dispersion.

    Culture and Discontinuity (in the 1840s and in Foucault) 2008

  • One way the pros try to take advantage of high implied correlation is by using an arbitrage strategy called a dispersion trade: They buy options on an individual stock and sell options on an ETF.

    Beating the Herd on the Street 2010

  • Dispersion is characterized mathematically by what is called a dispersion relation, a functional relationship between the frequency of a wave and its wavenumber in the medium, i.e. ω = ω (k).

    Optics basics: Defining the velocity of a wave « Skulls in the Stars 2008

  • The physics here involves dispersion, which is a generic property of wave mechanics in media.

    Faster-Than-Light Pulsar Phenomena | Universe Today 2010

  • Like his brother Jude he wrote an Epistle which was addressed to the twelve tribes of the dispersion, that is, to the Jewish Christians who were scattered throughout the Roman world.

    The Twelve: Jude and James Julie D. 2005

  • The next important historical epoch which demands our attention is that connected with what, in sacred history, is known as the dispersion at

    The Symbolism of Freemasonry Albert G. Mackey


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