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The act or process of dispersing or the condition of being dispersed.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act of dispersing or the condition of being dispersed
2. (Biology) the spread of animals, plants, or seeds to new areas
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(dɪˈspɜr ʒən, -ʃən)

1. Also, dispersal. an act or instance of dispersing or a state of being dispersed.
a. the variation of the index of refraction of a transparent substance, as glass, with the wavelength of light.
b. the separation of white or compound light into its respective colors, as in the formation of a spectrum by a prism.
3. the scattering of values of a statistical variable around the mean or median of a distribution.
4. Also called disperse′ sys`tem. a system of dispersed particles suspended in a solid, liquid, or gas.
5. (cap.) Diaspora (def. 1).
[1350–1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Relocation of forces for the purpose of increasing survivability. See also dispersion.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.


  1. Diffused charm around like an indispensable perfume —Jules Janin, about the woman who served as the role model for The Lady With the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, Fils
  2. (Consciousness) disperses itself like pollen on a spring day —Carlos Fuentes
  3. Dispersed like a broken family —Beryl Markham
  4. Disposed of like a branch or potato sack —Graham Swift
  5. Here and there like teeth in an old man’s mouth —Maxim Gorky
  6. Like the chaff of the summer threshing floors … the wind carried them away —The Holy Bible
  7. Scatter and divide like fleecy clouds self-multiplied —William Wordsworth
  8. Scattered as the seeds of wild grass —Beryl Markham
  9. Scattered [audience across vacant seats in a theatre] as widely as outfielders when the champion batter steps to the plate —O. Henry
  10. [Shadows of doubts and weaknesses] scattered, like a cloud in morning’s breeze —John Greenleaf Whittier
  11. (The rage that had been silent … fired and) scattered like bullets —Belva Plain
  12. Scattered (across the map of the land) like carelessly dropped pennies —George Garrett
  13. Scattered, like chaff in a high wind —Donald Seaman Scatter like confetti —Derek Lambert

    An extension is “To scatter like confetti at a tickertape parade.”

  14. Scattered like dusts and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October seize them —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  15. Scattered like foam along the wave —George Croly
  16. Scattered like foam on the torrent —Percy Bysshe Shelley
  17. Scattered like mown and withered grass —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  18. Scattered like rabbits to a gunshot —Lawrence Durrell
  19. (Spite, malice and jealousy) scattered like spent foam —Iris Murdoch
  20. Scatter like a bucket of water —Erich Maria Remarque
  21. Scatter like balls on a billiard table —Tom Shales, movie review, WNYC Morning Edition Public Radio, March 20, 1987

    In the movie Shales reviewed, it was babies who were thus scattered about.

  22. (The sparrows) scatter like handfuls of gravel —William H. Gass
  23. Scatter like mist before the wind —Kenzaburo Oë

    The descriptive reference point is a feeling of contentment.

  24. Scatter like pigeons across grass —Anon
  25. (His foes are) scattered like chirping sparrows —Stephen Vincent Benét
  26. Thrown away like used paper cups —Anon
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dispersal - the act of dispersing or diffusing something; "the dispersion of the troops"; "the diffusion of knowledge"
spreading, spread - act of extending over a wider scope or expanse of space or time
crop-dusting, spraying - the dispersion of fungicides or insecticides or fertilizer on growing crops (often from a low-flying aircraft)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. scattering, spread, distribution, dissemination, dissipation the plants' mechanisms of dispersal of their spores
2. spread, broadcast, circulation, diffusion, dissemination the dispersal of this notably negative attitude
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The passing out or spreading about of something:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
تَفريق، تَشْتيت
dreifing, tvístrun
dağ mayay ma


[dɪsˈpɜːsəl] N (= scattering) [of army, crowd] → dispersión f; [of light] → descomposición f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[dɪˈspɜːrsəl] n
[seeds] → dissémination f
[refugees, asylum seekers] → répartition f
[gas, toxins] → propagation f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (= scattering)Verstreuen nt; (Bot: of seed) → Verteilung f; (= dispelling: of crowd, mist) → Zerstreuung f, → Auflösung f; (of oil slick)Auflösung f; (Opt: of light) → Streuung f; (Chem: of particles) → Dispersion f; (fig) (of knowledge etc)Verbreitung f; (of efforts)Verzettelung f, → Zersplitterung f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[dɪsˈpɜːsl] n (gen) → dispersione f (Bot) → disseminazione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(diˈspəːs) verb
1. to (cause to) scatter in all directions. Some seeds are dispersed by the wind.
2. to (cause to) spread (news etc). Information is dispersed by volunteers who distribute leaflets.
3. to (cause to) vanish. By this time the crowd had dispersed.
diˈspersal noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
This smoke (or flame, perhaps, would be the better word for it) was so bright that the deep blue sky overhead and the hazy stretches of brown common towards Chertsey, set with black pine trees, seemed to darken abruptly as these puffs arose, and to remain the darker after their dispersal. At the same time a faint hissing sound became audible.
Nor were these the only tokens of dispersal. Boxes appeared in the bedrooms (where they were capital at other times), and a surprising amount of packing took place, out of all proportion to the amount packed.
So many times had Rosa seen such dispersals, and so very little did she know of any other Home, that she was contented to remain where she was, and was even better contented than ever before, having her latest friend with her.
There was an immediate dispersal for these restoratives, and she softly laid the patient on a sofa, and tended her with great skill and gentleness: calling her "my precious!" and "my bird!" and spreading her golden hair aside over her shoulders with great pride and care.
De Candolle has remarked that winged seeds are never found in fruits which do not open: I should explain the rule by the fact that seeds could not gradually become winged through natural selection, except in fruits which opened; so that the individual plants producing seeds which were a little better fitted to be wafted further, might get an advantage over those producing seed less fitted for dispersal; and this process could not possibly go on in fruit which did not open.
'We must be going with the rest,' observed Mrs Lammle, rising with a show of unwillingness, amidst a general dispersal. 'We are real friends, Georgiana dear?'
'Surely the Gods live here!' said Kim, beaten down by the silence and the appalling sweep and dispersal of the cloud-shadows after rain.
The dispersal zone was introduced at the end of May and ran until the end of last month.
It came into force at 4pm on Friday,the same time as a massive dispersal order covering central Redcar, and will end at 4pm on Sunday.
CAIRO -- 14 August 2019: Six years after the dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in camp at Rabaa Al-Adawiya, the Egyptian Media Group (EMG), in cooperation with Egypt Today, released a documentary on Wednesday that exposes the bloodthirsty truth of the outlawed group.
The dispersal topped at PS1,900 for a Redon daughter who calved her second in March giving 32 a day she sold to Messrs Thomas of Cardigan, who were volume purchasers on the day securing six of the dispersal.