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scatter

[skat-er] /ˈskæt ər/
verb (used with object)
1.
to throw loosely about; distribute at irregular intervals:
to scatter seeds.
2.
to separate and drive off in various directions; disperse:
to scatter a crowd.
3.
Physics.
  1. to refract or diffract (light or other electromagnetic radiation) irregularly so as to diffuse in many directions.
  2. (of a medium) to diffuse or deflect (light or other wave phenomena) by collisions between the wave and particles of the medium.
verb (used without object)
4.
to separate and disperse; go in different directions.
noun
5.
the act of scattering.
6.
something that is scattered.
Origin
1125-1175
1125-75; Middle English scatere; compare Dutch schateren to burst out laughing
Related forms
scatterable, adjective
scatterer, noun
scatteringly, adverb
Synonyms
1. broadcast. See sprinkle. 2. Scatter, dispel, disperse, dissipate imply separating and driving something away so that its original form disappears. To scatter is to separate something tangible into parts at random, and drive these in different directions: The wind scattered leaves all over the lawn. To dispel is to drive away or scatter usually intangible things so that they vanish or cease to exist: Photographs of the race dispelled all doubts as to which horse won. To disperse is usually to cause a compact or organized tangible body to separate or scatter in different directions, to be reassembled if desired: Tear gas dispersed the mob. To dissipate is usually to scatter by dissolving or reducing to small atoms or parts that cannot be brought together again: He dissipated his money and his energy in useless activities.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for scatter
  • Pour nectarines into baking dish or ramekins, scatter blackberries on top and sprinkle with the processed mixture.
  • They are holding more time back than is typical to sell on a short-term basis, in what is known as the scatter market.
  • But it'll be damned near impossible to convene the faculty once they scatter to get away from the students.
  • Those who continue to plough, weed and scatter seeds face jail terms of up to two years.
  • When alarmed, they scatter in different directions, hiding behind clumps of vegetation.
  • We were about to graduate from art school and scatter in search of our fate.
  • And worse yet, they scatter when the idea of bringing oxygen to them is broached.
  • If you do get caught, scatter and meet up at some pre-determined rendezvous.
  • scatter parsley over cod, and scatter with toasted almonds.
  • But the much smaller droplets in fog scatter light more, producing almost white bows sometimes tinged with faint color.
British Dictionary definitions for scatter

scatter

/ˈskætə/
verb
1.
(transitive) to throw about in various directions; strew
2.
to separate and move or cause to separate and move in various directions; disperse
3.
to deviate or cause to deviate in many directions, as in the diffuse reflection or refraction of light
noun
4.
the act of scattering
5.
a substance or a number of objects scattered about
Derived Forms
scatterable, adjective
scatterer, noun
Word Origin
C13: probably a variant of shatter
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 scatter
v.

mid-12c. (transitive), possibly a northern English variant of Middle English schateren (see shatter), reflecting Norse influence. Intransitive sense from early 15c. Related: Scattered; scattering. As a noun from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scatter in Medicine

scatter scat·ter (skāt'ər)
v. scat·tered, scat·ter·ing, scat·ters

  1. To cause to separate and go in different directions.

  2. To separate and go in different directions; disperse.

  3. To deflect radiation or particles.

n.
The act of scattering or the condition of being scattered.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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