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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 interspersed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their corpses, interspersed here and there in the series of the cells, are disturbing causes, which it is wise to eliminate.

    Bramble-bees and Others J. Henri Fabre
  • These operations were interspersed with plowing and threshing.

  • It was performed in broad Cornish, and interspersed with some rather good and I fancy original songs.

    The Cornwall Coast Arthur L. Salmon
  • But his speech was interspersed with stronger language than that.

    Sarah's School Friend May Baldwin
  • There followed a few brief moments of spirited action on her part, interspersed with howls of pain from the boy.

    Bee and Butterfly Lucy Foster Madison
British Dictionary definitions for interspersed


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 interspersed



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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