2 the police fired over their heads and the crowd scattered he spurred his horse forward, scattering onlookers in all directions
disperse, break up, disband, separate, move/go in different directions, go separate ways; dissipate, disintegrate, dissolve; drive, send, put to flight, chase
[Antonyms] assemble converge congregate
Choose the right word
scatter, disperse, dissipate
These words all describe the spreading out or elimination of something or a group of things that originally formed a concentrated or closely knit whole.Scatter emphasizes the random distribution of something over a wide area ( the occupants had scattered far and wide | sow thinly in rows, rather than scattering the seeds randomly).With disperse, the emphasis is primarily on the parting and spreading out of people or things rather than on where they all go ( troops were deployed to disperse the protesters), but the result will probably be more even or organized than with scatter. Unlike scatter, disperse can refer to the thinning of mist, cloud, and similar concentrations of small particles ( the blanket of fog above their heads began to disperse).With dissipate, the emphasis is more on the actual loss of a commodity, substance, or form of energy than on the manner of its going: something that is dissipated is spread out so thinly that it is no longer detectable or usable ( the semiconductor has low power requirements, thereby dissipating little heat). Dissipate can also describe the thinning of mist or cloud; unlike disperse, it is extended to the fading away of emotions, especially unpleasant ones ( she waited a moment for her exasperation to dissipate). If money or resources are dissipated, they are squandered on something or other ( he turned out to be a waster and dissipated his fortune).