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

  • noun Something scattered, especially a small, irregularly occurring amount or quantity.
  • noun Physics The dispersal of a beam of particles or of radiation into a range of directions as a result of physical interactions.
  • adjective Placed irregularly and far apart; scattered.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Separating and dispersing in all directions: as, a scattering flock of birds; a scattering shot.
  • Of rare or irregular occurrence; sporadic.
  • Miscellaneous; diversified: as, scattering votes.
  • Separated from the school, as fish: hence, sparse; scarce.
  • noun The act of sprinkling, strewing, or dispersing; dispersion.
  • noun That which has been scattered or strewn abroad.
  • noun One of a number of disconnected or fragmentary things.
  • noun The irregular reflection of light from a surface not perfectly smooth, or from many minute surfaces.

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

  • adjective Going or falling in various directions; not united or aggregated; divided among many.
  • noun Act of strewing about; something scattered.

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

  • verb Present participle of scatter.
  • noun A small quantity of something occurring at irregular intervals and dispersed at random points,
  • noun physics The process whereby a beam of waves or particles is dispersed by collisions or similar interactions.

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

  • noun spreading widely or driving off
  • noun the act of scattering
  • noun a small number (of something) dispersed haphazardly
  • noun the physical process in which particles are deflected haphazardly as a result of collisions
  • noun a light shower that falls in some locations and not others nearby


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • When the neutrons bounce against atomic nuclei, they do not lose energy, but their scattering is concentrated in directions that are determined by the structure in which the atoms are arranged.

    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1994 - Presentation Speech 1997

  • From 1967 to about 1975 the MIT and SLAC groups carried out a series of measurements of inelastic electron scattering from the proton and neutron which provided the first direct evidence of the quark sub-structure of the nucleon.

    Jerome I. Friedman - Autobiography 1991

  • Leipzig, I began to examine the nature of the infinities appearing in scattering processes at the same time that I was engaged in the above-mentioned work of formulating a covariant field theory.

    Sin-Itiro Tomonaga - Nobel Lecture 1972

  • Experiments by Dymond and by myself have established independently that no effect of this order of magnitude exists, when the scattering is done by gold foils.

    G.P. Thomson - Nobel Lecture 1965

  • Dowden's description of the poet Shelley's efforts in scattering one of his suppressed pamphlets, reminded me of ours.

    Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences 1815-1897 1898

  • He was as contumacious and profane as such men are apt to be, and he delighted in scattering his clerical antagonists as a task worthy of his mettle.

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  • I will leave a few ... that they may declare ... abominations -- God's purpose in scattering a remnant of Jews among the

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible 1871

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    The Spy James Fenimore Cooper 1820

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  • Three atmospheric processes modify the solar radiation passing through our atmosphere destined to the Earth's surface, namely scattering, absorption, and reflection.

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