AskDefine | Define scatter

Dictionary Definition



1 a haphazard distribution in all directions [syn: spread]
2 the act of scattering [syn: scattering, strewing]


1 to cause to separate and go in different directions; "She waved her hand and scattered the crowds" [syn: disperse, dissipate, dispel, break up]
2 move away from each other; "The crowds dispersed"; "The children scattered in all directions when the teacher approached"; [syn: disperse, dissipate, spread out]
3 distribute loosely; "He scattered gun powder under the wagon" [syn: sprinkle, dot, dust, disperse]
4 sow by scattering; "scatter seeds"
5 cause to separate; "break up kidney stones"; "disperse particles" [syn: break up, disperse]
6 strew or distribute over an area; "He spread fertilizer over the lawn"; "scatter cards across the table" [syn: spread, spread out]

User Contributed Dictionary



From scateren < sceaterian, probably from a dialect of Old Norse. Cf. Low German schateren and Dutch schateren ('to burst out laughing').



  1. To cause to separate and go in different directions.
  2. To distribute loosely as by sprinkling.
  3. To deflect (radiation or particles).
  4. To separate and go in different directions; disperse.
  5. To occur or fall at widely spaced intervals.


to cause to separate
to distribute loosely
physics: to deflect
to disperse
to occur at intervals

Extensive Definition

In ordinary English, to scatter is to distribute randomly. Scatter also has the following meanings:
  • In physics, scattering is the study of collisions, especially of waves and particles (synonymous in quantum mechanics). In elastic scattering the objects are changed only in their motion, while in inelastic scattering the collision causes some change or produces a new object.
  • In statistics and statistical science, scatter is a synonym for variance.
  • Scatter or flock is a substance used in the building of dioramas and model railways to simulate the effect of grass, poppies, fireweed, track ballast and other scenic ground cover. Scatter actually refers to one of two substances: simulated track ballast, which is fine-grained ground granite; and coloured grass which is usually tinted sawdust, wood chips or ground foam.
  • In parallel computing a scatter operation sends data from one process to all other processes in a group.
  • Scatter was the name of a chimpanzee owned by Elvis Presley.
  • Scatter in common slang may refer to the comedown one expriences after using an amphetamine

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

atomize, bend, besprinkle, bestrew, bias, blow, break into pieces, break to pieces, break up, broadcast, cast, circulate, circumfuse, clutter, confound, crash, crook, crunch, crush, curve, cut to pieces, deactivate, deal out, debrief, deflect, deflection, deflexure, demob, demobilize, demolish, derange, detach, deviate, diffract, diffraction, diffuse, diffusion, disarrange, disarray, disband, discard, discharge, discomfit, dishevel, disintegrate, disjoin, dislocate, dismiss, disorder, disorganize, dispel, dispense, disperse, dispersion, dispread, disrupt, disseminate, dissipate, dissolve, distort, distortion, distribute, diverge, divert, divide, dogleg, ease, ease off, emanate, fan out, fission, flection, flexure, fragment, free, gamble away, go off, go separate ways, go through, grind, hairpin, hang the expense, issue, lavish, let go, let up, litter, loose, loosen, make mincemeat of, mess, mess up, mince, misarrange, muss, muss up, muster out, overscatter, oversow, overspread, panic, part, part company, propagate, publish, pull, pulverize, put to flight, put to rout, radiate, ray, refract, refraction, relax, release, retail, rout, ruffle, rumple, run through, seize the day, separate, sever, shatter, shed, shiver, shower, skew, skewness, slack, slack off, slacken, slather, smash, smash up, sow, sow broadcast, splay, splinter, split up, spread, spread out, sprinkle, squander, squash, squish, stampede, straw, strew, throw away, throw money around, torsion, tousle, turn, twist, unglue, unleash, unstick, utter, warp, zigzag
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