1throw in various random directions:scatter the coconut over the icinghis family are hoping to scatter his ashes at sea
cover (a surface) with objects thrown or spread randomly over it:sandy beaches scattered with driftwood
(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
2 [no object] (of a group of people or animals) separate and move off quickly in different directions:the roar made the dogs scatter
[with object] cause (a group of people or animals) to move off quickly in different directions:he charged across the foyer, scattering people
3 Physics deflect or diffuse (electromagnetic radiation or particles):the light is scattered as it strikes particles suspended in the air
4 Baseball pitch (balls) effectively, allowing several hits but little or no scoring.
1a small, dispersed amount of something:a scatter of boulders round the pothole mouth
2 [mass noun] Statistics the degree to which repeated measurements or observations of a quantity differ.
3 [mass noun] Physics the scattering of light, other electromagnetic radiation, or particles.
Middle English (as a verb): probably a variant of shatter