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)

  1. to separate and disperse; go in different directions.


  1. the act of scattering.
  2. something that is scattered.


  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


  1. the act of scattering
  2. a substance or a number of objects scattered about

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. v.

  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.


  1. The act of scattering or the condition of being scattered.
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