Definition of diffuse in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈfyo͞oz/
1Spread or cause to spread over a wide area or among a large number of people: [no object]: technologies diffuse rapidly [with object]: the problem is how to diffuse power without creating anarchy
More example sentences
  • It works efficiently to create and diffuse purchasing power throughout the economy and disseminate liquidity throughout the financial system.
  • It has diffused a wider lack of confidence on the part of investors and consumers, accentuating the trend towards recession.
  • But slowly, in the course of time the proletarian agenda of the communist parties is also diffusing rapidly.
1.1Become or cause (a fluid, gas, individual atom, etc.) to become intermingled with a substance by movement, typically in a specified direction or at specified speed: [no object]: oxygen molecules diffuse across the membrane [with object]: gas is diffused into the bladder
More example sentences
  • During such movement, oil molecules diffused into the cytoplasm of both palisade and spongy cells.
  • The interior of channel-forming membrane proteins contains a column of water molecules through which protons and other small ions can diffuse across the membrane.
  • Unfortunately, the majority of cancer deaths are due to metastases from malignant cells that have stealthily diffused into adjacent tissues and into organs far from the primary.
1.2 [with object] Cause (light) to glow faintly by dispersing it in many directions.
Example sentences
  • The fourth side is screened by lightweight wattle wall that gently diffuses the harsh light.
  • It's refreshing these days to be reminded how good film can be when film-makers don't plane every rough edge and diffuse each harsh ray of sun, like make-over artists gone berserk.
  • Upstairs, etched glass light wells diffuse luminance into the restaurant and glazed screens enclose private rooms.


Pronunciation: /dəˈfyo͞os/
1Spread out over a large area; not concentrated: the diffuse community centered on the church the light is more diffuse
More example sentences
  • Instead it comes from several diffuse sources spread over a large geographical area.
  • The new threats were going to be diffuse, spread out, springing up wholly formed from unexpected quarters.
  • By the time of the Civil War, a black fiddle tradition, which still exists in some regions of the Southeast today, was diffuse through that area.
spread out, scattered, dispersed, diasporic
1.1(Of disease) not localized in the body: diffuse hyperplasia
More example sentences
  • In general, signs of focal or diffuse inflammation superior to the spinal cord were mild.
  • Condylomata represent a focal manifestation of a diffuse infection and occur in only a minority of those infected with HPV.
  • Bronchocentric granulomatosis can present radiologically as a single mass, as multiple masses, or as a more diffuse disease.
1.2Lacking clarity or conciseness: the second argument is more diffuse
More example sentences
  • The large painting is strangely diffuse and lacking in structure for that master of tight, well-ordered composition.
  • Today, the term has something of a diffuse meaning.
  • But it might as well be scrapped if it becomes too accommodating and diffuse to remain meaningful.
verbose, wordy, prolix, long-winded, long-drawn-out, discursive, rambling, wandering, meandering, maundering, digressive, circuitous, roundabout, circumlocutory, periphrastic


The verbs diffuse and defuse sound similar but have different meanings. Diffuse means, broadly, ‘disperse,’ while the nonliteral meaning of defuse is ‘reduce the danger or tension in.’ Thus sentences such as Cooper successfully diffused the situation are regarded as incorrect, while Cooper successfully defused the situation would be correct. However, such uses of diffuse are widespread, and can make sense: the image in, for example, only peaceful dialogue between the two countries could diffuse tension is not of making a bomb safe but of reducing something dangerous to particles and dispersing them harmlessly.



Pronunciation: /dəˈfyo͞oslē/
Example sentences
  • Clinically the tongue appeared diffusely bulky and somewhat irregular (in part because of prior surgical excisions) but exhibited normal color, texture, and movement.
  • This finding is particularly important, since the tumor cells were strongly and diffusely positive for neuron-specific enolase, a commonly used but less specific neuroendocrine marker.
  • The inflammatory process also focally affected the epididymis and diffusely affected the peritesticular soft tissues and spermatic cord.


Pronunciation: /dəˈfyo͞osnəs/
Example sentences
  • The very diffuseness and decentralization of popular constitutionalism left room for these advocates of judicial supremacy to continue to nurse their claim.
  • And there seems to be a diffuseness to the decision-making process that means it's impossible to get someone to take a wider view on anything and still have the power to act on it.
  • Such a style makes for lively and non-authoritarian reading, but also for a diffuseness which makes it hard to follow the argument or discern the points being made.


Late Middle English: from Latin diffus- 'poured out', from the verb diffundere, from dis- 'away' + fundere 'pour'; the adjective via French diffus or Latin diffusus 'extensive', from diffundere.

Words that rhyme with diffuse

abstruse, abuse, adduce, Ballets Russes, Belarus, Bruce, burnous, caboose, charlotte russe, conduce, deduce, deuce, douce, educe, excuse, goose, induce, introduce, juice, Larousse, loose, luce, misuse, moose, mousse, noose, obtuse, Palouse, produce, profuse, puce, recluse, reduce, Rousse, seduce, sluice, Sousse, spruce, traduce, truce, use, vamoose, Zeus abuse, accuse, adieux, amuse, bemuse, billets-doux, blues, booze, bruise, choose, Clews, confuse, contuse, cruise, cruse, Cruz, do's, Druze, effuse, enthuse, excuse, fuse (US fuze), Hughes, incuse, interfuse, lose, Mahfouz, mews, misuse, muse, news, ooze, Ouse, perfuse, peruse, rhythm-and-blues, ruse, schmooze, snooze, suffuse, Toulouse, transfuse, trews, use, Vaduz, Veracruz, who's, whose, youse

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dif·fuse

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