Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: inter|sperse
Pronunciation: /ɪntəˈspəːs

Definition of intersperse in English:


[with object]
1Scatter among or between other things; place here and there: deep pools interspersed by shallow shingle banks
More example sentences
  • Do they believe that offices, stores, and schools will scale themselves down and intersperse themselves nicely among these 5-acre homesites?
  • A deer being chased by a wild dog, hurtling across some large featureless plain beneath a sky the deep blue-black of ink, interspersing its run with elegant bounds, that delicate prettiness even in its death-flight.
  • Again, the same feeling of happy companionable comfort, although it probably wouldn't have been at all apparent to anyone else given that we spent a fair bit of the time disagreeing violently and interspersing this with hacking coughs.
1.1Diversify (a thing or things) with other things at intervals: the debate was interspersed with angry exchanges
More example sentences
  • The song is highly varied - musical passages are freely interspersed with harsh grating ones.
  • The games are interspersed with recorded stories and songs.
  • Now, during the US war on Iraq, news from the frontlines is seamlessly interspersed with news from the stock markets.
intermix, mix, mingle;
vary, diversify, variegate, punctuate


mid 16th century (in the sense 'diversify (something) by introducing other things at intervals'): from Latin interspers- 'scattered between', from interspergere, from inter- 'between' + spargere 'scatter'.



Example sentences
  • There are deliberate interspersions of black and white but this, together with the fact that much of the film is set in the past, merely gives the whole thing a rather dated appearance.
  • Considerable published research - for example on the Limpopo River Valley - over the last decade shows a far greater interspersion of engravings and paintings than is shown on the map produced in this volume.
  • It is in terms of this function that we must understand the insistent interspersion of white space throughout Jabes's books; whiteness is the mark of an erasure…

Definition of intersperse in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day prepotent
Pronunciation: prɪˈpəʊt(ə)nt
greater than others in power or influence