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

  • transitive v. To drive away; disperse.
  • transitive v. To attenuate to or almost to the point of disappearing: The wind finally dissipated the smoke. See Synonyms at scatter.
  • transitive v. To spend or expend intemperately or wastefully; squander.
  • transitive v. To use up, especially recklessly; exhaust: dissipated their energy. See Synonyms at waste.
  • transitive v. To cause to lose (energy, such as heat) irreversibly.
  • intransitive v. To vanish by dispersion: The dark clouds finally dissipated.
  • intransitive v. To indulge in the intemperate pursuit of pleasure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To drive away, disperse.
  • v. To use up or waste.
  • v. To vanish by dispersion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To scatter completely; to disperse and cause to disappear; -- used esp. of the dispersion of things that can never again be collected or restored.
  • transitive v. To destroy by wasteful extravagance or lavish use; to squander.
  • intransitive v. To separate into parts and disappear; to waste away; to scatter; to disperse; to vanish
  • intransitive v. To be extravagant, wasteful, or dissolute in the pursuit of pleasure; to engage in dissipation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to pass or melt away; scatter or drive off in all directions; dispel: as, wind dissipates fog; the heat of the sun dissipates vapor; mirth dissipates care.
  • To expend wastefully; scatter extravagantly or improvidently; waste, as property by foolish outlay, or the powers of the mind by devotion to trivial pursuits.
  • Synonyms Dissipate, Dispel, Disperse, Scatter. These words are often interchangeable. Dissipate and dispel, however, properly apply to the dispersion of things that vanish and are not afterward collected; dissipate is the more energetic, and dispel is more often used figuratively: as, to dissipate vapor; to dissipate a fortune; to dispel doubt; to dispel uncertainty. Disperse and scatter are applied to things which may be again brought together: as, to scatter or disperse troops; or to things which are quite as real and tangible after scattering or dispersing as before: as, to gather up one's scattered wits.
  • To become scattered, dispersed, or diffused; come to an end or vanish through dispersion or diffusion.
  • To engage in extravagant, excessive, or dissolute pleasures; be loose in conduct.

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

  • v. live a life of pleasure, especially with respect to alcoholic consumption
  • v. spend frivolously and unwisely
  • v. move away from each other
  • v. to cause to separate and go in different directions


Middle English dissipaten, from Latin dissipāre, dissipāt-.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dissipatus, past participle of dissipare, also written dissupare ("to scatter, disperse, demolish, destroy, squander, dissipate"), from dis- ("apart") + supare ("to throw"), also in comp. insipare ("to throw into"). (Wiktionary)


  • Ive heared of a Victorian remedy of putting white vinegar on a small strip of cloth tied around the forehead to help heat dissipate from the head (we could also use small ice packs today) which also helps ward off headaches from the heat (mint essentail oil helps dissipate heat too).

    The Longevity of the Victorian Architecture

  • And what's fascinating about this love story, if you will, is that the intensity of that honeymoon stage never seemed to dissipate, which is very unusual, when you think about it.

    CNN Transcript Jul 10, 2007

  • That this country cannot be boxed easily and therefore appointed labels dissipate easily.

    Pak Tea House

  • So the waves tend to kind of dissipate and it allows for a smoother surface, better times.

    CNN Transcript Aug 13, 2008

  • Both were very hot and seemed to just kind of dissipate later in the week.

    CNN Transcript Jul 18, 2004

  • JEFF LIVICK, TIMBERLINE SKI PATROL: I felt the rotor wash kind of dissipate, at which point I looked up.

    CNN Transcript May 31, 2002

  • Gershom began to "dissipate," as it has got to be matter of convention to term "drinking."

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  • So I guess we'd expect part of that outgrowth to kind of dissipate and the rest at least kind of remains through the year. Home Page

  • Prosecutors added that Mrs. Ruth Madoff, while not a party to the proceeding, cannot be trusted to enforce not to unilaterally "dissipate" the assets.

    ABC News: ABCNews

  • The silver collects in the skin and other organs and does not dissipate, meaning Karason will be blue for life.

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  • grown too old to live life frisky
    --time to dissipate some whiskey

    November 6, 2009