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scatter

Line breaks: scat|ter
Pronunciation: /ˈskatə
 
/

Definition of scatter in English:

verb

[with object]
1Throw in various random directions: scatter the coconut over the icing his family are hoping to scatter his ashes at sea
More example sentences
  • Prendergast described how Glasgow funeral directors recently scattered the unclaimed ashes they had stored since the 1950s into the Clyde.
  • His staging was awkward; he tended to limit action unnecessarily to small parts of the stage and to scatter furniture about at random.
  • A brother and sister have delayed scattering their mum's ashes in the garden of their family home while they deal with the threat of eviction.
1.1Cover (a surface) with objects thrown or spread randomly over it: sandy beaches scattered with driftwood
More example sentences
  • Beside the man, demons no longer cavorted cheerfully, in fact, the path was empty bar the sandy grit that scattered its surface.
  • Papers scattered the floor, covering every inch like a carpet.
  • The room was full of Legos and random toys scattering the ground.
Synonyms
throw, strew, toss, fling;
shower, spatter, spray
literary bestrew
1.2 (be scattered) [usually with adverbial] Occur or be found at intervals rather than all together: there are many watermills scattered throughout the marshlands (as adjective scattered) a scattered cliff-top community
More example sentences
  • Ruining the picture postcard view is more domestic refuse scattered at intervals all the way down to the watercourse.
  • How do we attack the complex problem of deprivation when poverty is scattered throughout a region rather than concentrated in one, relatively treatable area?
  • Minority issues or rather minority grievances are scattered all over the state.
Synonyms
fleck, stud, dot, cover, sprinkle, stipple, spot, pepper;
litter
literary bestud
2 [no object] (Of a group of people or animals) separate and move off quickly in different directions: the roar made the dogs scatter
More example sentences
  • The group scattered quickly and then regrouped after the flames ended.
  • After one group had enough exercise and fresh air, they would retreat to their bunkers and the next small group would scatter forth.
  • Frank goes on in his article to tell of how their little group scattered.
Synonyms
disperse, break up, disband, separate, move/go in different directions, go separate ways;
dissipate, disintegrate, dissolve;
drive, send, put to flight, chase
2.1 [with object] Cause (a group of people or animals) to move off quickly in different directions: he charged across the foyer, scattering people
More example sentences
  • A mortar burst on the pavement, scattering a group of medics.
  • The war of 2001 destroyed that base, scattered the group and effectively ended the umbrella role he and his associates had played.
  • The protesters scuffled with police when officers moved in to scatter the crowd, but there were no reported injuries.
3 Physics Deflect or diffuse (electromagnetic radiation or particles): the light is scattered as it strikes particles suspended in the air
More example sentences
  • Wavelengths at the blue end of the spectrum are scattered and absorbed more than those at the red end of the spectrum, so the sunlight appears to turn yellow, and then red.
  • One possibility is a powerful laser beaming from the nose of the plane to ‘melt’ a path through the air - scattering molecules so that they cause less friction.
  • The light scattered by a particle passing through these beams is collected and focused on a photomultiplier tube.
4 Baseball Pitch (balls) effectively, allowing several hits but little or no scoring.
Example sentences
  • Workers pitcher, Michael Lewis picked up his third win of the season going the distance and scattering 10 hits, allowing 3 earned runs and striking out 6.

noun

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1A small, dispersed amount of something: a scatter of boulders round the pothole mouth
More example sentences
  • There are people here, and scatters of rubbish on the ground, which stand out against the white snow.
  • They know how hard it is to appear so effortless, how well she conceals her intense reflection and labor in order to lead us into her idiosyncratic scatters of color and form.
  • Years of built up scars laced a starved ribcage that displayed scatters of bruises and cuts, some of which he guesses to be only hours old.
2 [mass noun] Statistics The degree to which repeated measurements or observations of a quantity differ.
Example sentences
  • We also noted the degree of scatter in the correlation: some local authorities with comparable mortality rates have quite different rates of self reported ill health and vice versa.
  • The use of routine specimens to measure resistance may also have contributed to the observed scatter and has the potential to introduce bias.
  • Flow cytometry showed a population of cells with slightly greater forward and side scatter than that of normal lymphocytes.
3 [mass noun] Physics The scattering of light, other electromagnetic radiation, or particles.
Example sentences
  • To date, the research team has found that 90 to 95 percent of light scatter generated is from optical properties of mitochondria.
  • Treatment may include prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses to slightly overcorrect night vision and decrease the light scatter.
  • There was considerable light scatter with each treatment, particularly at the higher fluences.

Origin

Middle English (as a verb): probably a variant of shatter.

Derivatives

scatterer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • The enhanced shadowing is likely a result of more scatterers flowing through the dilated arteriole.
  • The autocorrelation functions yielded the distributions of the diffusion coefficients of the scatterers and the corresponding hydrodynamic radii.
  • At the onset of the plateau, new point scatterers emerged suddenly within the fluorescent phase.

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