v. dis·persed, dis·pers·ing, dis·pers·es
a. To drive off or scatter in different directions: The police dispersed the crowd. See Synonyms at scatter.
b. To strew or distribute widely: The airplane dispersed the leaflets over the city.
2. To cause to attenuate and disappear: The sun dispersed the fog.
a. To separate (light) into spectral rays.
b. To distribute (particles) evenly throughout a medium.
1. To separate and move in different directions; scatter: The crowd dispersed once the concert ended.
2. To attenuate and vanish; dissipate: The storm clouds had dispersed by noon.
[Middle English dispersen, from Old French disperser, from Latin dispergere, dispers-, to disperse : dis-, apart; see DIS- + spargere, to scatter.]
dis·persed·ly (-spûrsĭd-lē) adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.