distributed or occurring here and there at irregular intervals; scattered.
straggling, as an assemblage of parts.
(of votes) cast in small numbers for various candidates.
distributing, dispersing, or separating.
a small, scattered number or quantity.
Physics. the process in which a wave or beam of particles is diffused or deflected by collisions with particles of the medium that it traverses.

1300–50; Middle English; see scatter, -ing2, -ing1 Unabridged


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.
to refract or diffract (light or other electromagnetic radiation) irregularly so as to diffuse in many directions.
(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

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scatter (ˈskætə)
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
4.  the act of scattering
5.  a substance or a number of objects scattered about
[C13: probably a variant of shatter]

scattering (ˈskætərɪŋ)
1.  a small amount
2.  physics the process in which particles, atoms, etc, are deflected as a result of collision

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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Word Origin & History

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.

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
scattering  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (skāt'ər-ĭng)  Pronunciation Key 
The spreading of a stream of particles or a beam of rays, as of light, over a range of directions as a result of collisions with other particles. The sky appears blue due to the tendency of air molecules to scatter blue and violet light more than light of other frequencies. The scattering probabilities and patterns of subatomic particles, accelerated by particle accelerators and aimed at a target, is a major component of experimental particle physics. See also diffusion, cross section.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Garden steps and low walls can double as seating too with a scattering of cushions.
There is no stopping it: surrender on all sides, everyone scattering.
When he bent down to fill in the final square, to a scattering of applause, all the air seemed to go out of the room.
The settling of stationing cleaning is one way not to shatter scatter and scattering.
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