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[in-ter-spurs] /ˌɪn tərˈspɜrs/
verb (used with object), interspersed, interspersing.
to scatter here and there or place at intervals among other things:
to intersperse flowers among shrubs.
to diversify with something placed or scattered at intervals:
to intersperse a dull speech with interesting anecdotes.
Origin of intersperse
1560-70; < Latin interspersus (past participle of interspergere to strew here and there), equivalent to inter- inter- + -spersus, combining form of sparsus, past participle of spargere to scatter; see disperse
Related forms
[in-ter-spur-sid-lee] /ˌɪn tərˈspɜr sɪd li/ (Show IPA),
[in-ter-spur-zhuh n or, esp. British, -shuh n] /ˌɪn tərˈspɜr ʒən or, esp. British, -ʃən/ (Show IPA),
interspersal, noun
uninterspersed, adjective
1. strew, sprinkle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for intersperse
  • Both episodes intersperse commentary from paleontologists with computer-generated restorations of the dinosaurs.
  • Her solution was to intersperse essays and interviews throughout the book, and to identify each section through color-coding.
  • For example, intersperse hand intensive tasks with lifting tasks.
  • intersperse plants that bloom or turn colors at different times.
  • Backfill is turned on to help intersperse smaller jobs amongst larger ones to better utilize the system.
  • Teachers can take examples from the instructional section of the textbook and intersperse them into homework sets.
  • We intersperse brief discussions, highlighting occasional specifics from individual tables.
  • For example, in unrestricted lifting people might intersperse stoop and squat lifting to relieve the load on back and leg muscles.
  • The eddies that intersperse the weak background flow are far more energetic.
  • If fish did not intersperse well, the bias would probably have been negative, leading to an underestimate of the true population.
British Dictionary definitions for intersperse


verb (transitive)
to scatter or distribute among, between, or on
to diversify (something) with other things scattered here and there
Derived Forms
interspersedly (ˌɪntəˈspɜːsɪdlɪ) adverb
interspersion (ˌɪntəˈspɜːʃən), interspersal, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin interspargere, from inter- + spargere to sprinkle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for intersperse

1560s, from Latin interspersus "strewn, scattered, sprinkled upon," past participle of *interspergere, from inter- "between" (see inter-) + spargere "to scatter" (see sparse). Related: Interspersed; interspersing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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