scatter

[skat-er]
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.
a.
to refract or diffract (light or other electromagnetic radiation) irregularly so as to diffuse in many directions.
b.
(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:
1125–75; Middle English scatere; compare Dutch schateren to burst out laughing

scatterable, adjective
scatterer, noun
scatteringly, adverb


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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Collins
World English Dictionary
scatter (ˈskætə)
 
vb
1.  (tr) 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
 
n
4.  the act of scattering
5.  a substance or a number of objects scattered about
 
[C13: probably a variant of shatter]
 
'scatterable
 
adj
 
'scatterer
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

scatter
1154, possibly a northern Eng. variant of M.E. schateren (see shatter), reflecting Norse influence. Scatterbrain is first recorded 1790. Scattershot (adj.) is attested from 1961, fig. use of term for a kind of gun charge meant to broadcast the pellets when fired.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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.
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