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[skat-erd] /ˈskæt ərd/
distributed or occurring at widely spaced and usually irregular intervals:
scattered villages; scattered showers.
dispersed; disorganized:
scattered forces.
distracted or disorganized:
scattered thoughts.
Meteorology. (of clouds) covering up to one-half of the sky.
Compare broken (def 5).
Origin of scattered
Related forms
scatteredly, adverb
scatteredness, noun
unscattered, adjective
well-scattered, adjective


[skat-er] /ˈskæt ər/
verb (used with object)
to throw loosely about; distribute at irregular intervals:
to scatter seeds.
to separate and drive off in various directions; disperse:
to scatter a crowd.
  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)
to separate and disperse; go in different directions.
the act of scattering.
something that is scattered.
1125-75; Middle English scatere; compare Dutch schateren to burst out laughing
Related forms
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scattered
  • Its scattered operations position it perfectly for a spread of wealth inland.
  • There were scattered reports of ballots jamming and machines malfunctioning, two big headaches during the primary.
  • He said the bones would be cremated and scattered over an undisclosed location at sea, but he gave no other details.
  • His diary is scattered with poems, his own and others'.
  • Millions of receptors in the nose's smelling organ aren't scattered at random, a new study says.
  • scattered light intensity is therefore proportional to the fourth power of frequency.
  • The sky is blue due to the way light is scattered in the atmosphere.
  • Plants can continue with scattered bloom at any other time.
  • scattered throughout the book are a series of full-color images that capture some element of the story or poem that surround them.
  • Bronchopneumonia tends to be scattered throughout the lung.
British Dictionary definitions for scattered


(transitive) to throw about in various directions; strew
to separate and move or cause to separate and move in various directions; disperse
to deviate or cause to deviate in many directions, as in the diffuse reflection or refraction of light
the act of scattering
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 scattered



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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scattered 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.

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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