Definition of scatter in English:

scatter

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Throw in various random directions:

    ‘scatter the coconut over the icing’
    ‘his family are hoping to scatter his ashes at sea’
    • ‘Prendergast described how Glasgow funeral directors recently scattered the unclaimed ashes they had stored since the 1950s into the Clyde.’
    • ‘The wind blowing across the river's surface scatters tiny drops of water in every direction.’
    • ‘The tarte is finished off by scattering crispy garlic and parsley fried breadcrumbs over the surface, and will be great either hot or cold, with slices of goat's cheese.’
    • ‘She started clawing at the mattress until she broke it open and scattered the fluffy insides all over the cell.’
    • ‘During Australia's national day of mourning yesterday, barbecues were organised, and surfers scattered flowers.’
    • ‘A mother whose son was shot dead by a friend marked his 21st birthday today by scattering his ashes.’
    • ‘Penstemon seed, for example, can be lightly scattered over the surface of a tray of damp compost and covered with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite.’
    • ‘If you're broadcasting seed, simply scatter it, and then cover with about 1/4 inch of fine soil or compost.’
    • ‘The super-cute shop is always inviting, with the lovely smell of roses filling the air and rose petals scattered outside the entrance.’
    • ‘In others, he scatters the powder more randomly so that the drawing resembles a starburst or shrapnel blast.’
    • ‘His staging was awkward; he tended to limit action unnecessarily to small parts of the stage and to scatter furniture about at random.’
    • ‘Because he loved sailing so much and had long dreamt of a retirement spent exploring the Mediterranean, the family scattered his ashes at sea.’
    • ‘Arrange the slices of mozzarella over the base, spread the onions on top and scatter the chestnuts, olives and thyme or oregano over them.’
    • ‘He cleansed the water, scattered consecrated herbs, and chanted ancient incantations.’
    • ‘The wind picked up and scattered leaves about me.’
    • ‘Crack an egg onto the potatoes and scatter the cheese evenly over the surface.’
    • ‘His daughter, Marielle, plans to come to Scotland to scatter some of his ashes but the rest will be taken to Vietnam.’
    • ‘Crumble the filling over the dough and press it down into the surface, then scatter the currants evenly across the dough.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I quickly shot up from the couch, scattering my papers all over the floor in the process, and reached the door.’
    1. 1.1 Cover (a surface) with objects thrown or spread randomly over it:
      ‘sandy beaches scattered with driftwood’
      • ‘Freckles scattered my shoulders and I had some very light ones lining my cheeks.’
      • ‘Beside the man, demons no longer cavorted cheerfully, in fact, the path was empty bar the sandy grit that scattered its surface.’
      • ‘The room was full of Legos and random toys scattering the ground.’
      • ‘A double bed in the centre of the wall in front of me was scattered with different coloured rose petals.’
      • ‘Papers scattered the floor, covering every inch like a carpet.’
      throw, strew, toss, fling
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2be scattered[usually with adverbial] Occur or be found at intervals rather than all together:
      ‘there are many watermills scattered throughout the marshlands’
      ‘a scattered cliff-top community’
      • ‘Although at least the government was now in one place rather than scattered around the Loire, this also made it easier for Reynaud's opponents to concert their activities.’
      • ‘Group homes and halfway houses are scattered throughout the region and are few in number.’
      • ‘While airwaves do have several slots for playing classical music, they are scattered at different times of the day and across channels.’
      • ‘There, concealed behind flat-topped rocks and scattered fallen trees, the warriors maintained their positions.’
      • ‘In the first section of the tour, herbivorous animals such as deer, zebras and elephants are scattered over a dry, barren landscape.’
      • ‘Until the completion of the new institute, Queen Mary's scientists were scattered across seven different sites, which made such collaboration all but impossible.’
      • ‘How do we attack the complex problem of deprivation when poverty is scattered throughout a region rather than concentrated in one, relatively treatable area?’
      • ‘They see school lunch boxes melted by the heat of the blast and roof tiles fused together, as well as the monuments scattered throughout the peace park to the victims.’
      • ‘I don't know if you can hear the gunfire around me, as well as the thud of artillery, but there have been scattered gun battles, as we've been going through.’
      • ‘This is a landscape of woodlands, forests, reservoirs and farmsteads scattered below high moorland ridges which reach their peak at Shining Tor.’
      • ‘Most live on 2,300 reserves scattered across the vastness of Canada, with each reservation having an average of 500 residents.’
      • ‘Ruining the picture postcard view is more domestic refuse scattered at intervals all the way down to the watercourse.’
      • ‘Minority issues or rather minority grievances are scattered all over the state.’
      • ‘The older Pekar appears, reflecting on his life in 1960s - 80s Cleveland in interview extracts scattered throughout the film.’
      • ‘A few scattered editing errors are there but the overall production standards can be rated as good.’
      • ‘The centre will bring together facilities that at present are scattered over four locations in the garrison town.’
      • ‘Peculiarly shaped rocks and hillocks having striking features lie scattered all over the earth.’
      • ‘Even at these sites, red cedar tends to be spatially limited to discrete ritual precincts rather than scattered randomly among feature fills.’
      • ‘There were several floatation-boards scattered along the front edge of the swimming pool.’
      • ‘Paths criss-crossed over it, with benches scattered at intervals along beside them.’
      fleck, stud, dot, cover, sprinkle, stipple, spot, pepper
      View synonyms
  • 2[no object] (of a group of people or animals) separate and move off quickly in different directions:

    ‘the roar made the dogs scatter’
    • ‘After one group had enough exercise and fresh air, they would retreat to their bunkers and the next small group would scatter forth.’
    • ‘Most scattered quickly as rain began to spill down and high winds blew.’
    • ‘Even as the three artists scatter to different corners of the globe, they're together building the shape of music to come.’
    • ‘But the drivers scattered in different directions and officers failed to capture any of them, although all the vehicles were abandoned nearby.’
    • ‘Everyone scattered in different directions, fighting anyone they came to.’
    • ‘Several people witnessed the shooting but scattered before police arrived.’
    • ‘The group scattered when police arrived, but police were able to detain 3 Thai men and 4 Russians.’
    • ‘Confusion and panic broke out at once, with the troops scattering in every direction.’
    • ‘She could hear the scampers of animals scattering.’
    • ‘Within minutes the people on the street had scattered and taken cover.’
    • ‘The group scattered immediately when another group headed over to the playground.’
    • ‘As he turned down a street a group of children scattered out of his way, abandoning the patched ball that they had been playing with in the street.’
    • ‘His bellow echoed through the air, sending what could have passed off for large dogs scattering in all directions.’
    • ‘Frank goes on in his article to tell of how their little group scattered.’
    • ‘The group scattered quickly and then regrouped after the flames ended.’
    • ‘The group scattered and Justin scrambled to the school.’
    • ‘Across the streets, people scattered or dived to the ground against shuttered shop doorways as the rattle of Kalashnikov fire criss-crossed overhead.’
    • ‘Customers at the surrounding tables are looking on in horror as I send the birds scattering in their direction.’
    • ‘The bell suddenly chimed, sending the girls scattering to their different assigned seats in the classroom.’
    • ‘As the Rosary was finished a very heavy shower, sent people scattering in all directions for shelter.’
    disperse, break up, disband, separate, go in different directions, move in different directions, go separate ways
    View synonyms
    1. 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’
      • ‘The protesters scuffled with police when officers moved in to scatter the crowd, but there were no reported injuries.’
      • ‘He reached down again, this time to scatter the animals, and they ran for the lakes, forests, mountains and trees.’
      • ‘He faces down a bear with bow-and-arrow, scatters wolves with a slingshot, and shoots rabbits for dinner.’
      • ‘Young Herbert was picking up small stones and throwing them at the sparrows twittering in the hedgerows scattering them in all directions.’
      • ‘The effect was to scatter the crew in the holding area, and give the Germans something to think about while James got into position.’
      • ‘Enemy forces advanced rapidly into his territory, in Batticaloa and Amparai districts, scattering his fighters.’
      • ‘They shined the light every which way, scattering the bugs and mice that had not seen any light for years.’
      • ‘A mortar burst on the pavement, scattering a group of medics.’
      • ‘Police scattered striking workers and teargas was also used to disperse a striking mob at Cyril Lord.’
      • ‘It will be the last time that these group of athletes take the field together before they are scattered to the winds of their individual sporting ambitions.’
      • ‘The war of 2001 destroyed that base, scattered the group and effectively ended the umbrella role he and his associates had played.’
      • ‘For a moment, Jeff's blood froze; he listened in dread as another round of shots completely scattered the remaining crowd.’
      • ‘A manta ray flashed, scattering a school of butterfly fish, silver and striped with dark gold, each moving like the pulse of a wing.’
      • ‘Like a rapid silver lure shining wildly, she breaks suddenly from the branching rock and scatters three green Chromis fish.’
      • ‘He fired several shots, and scattered the rebels, and it was owing mainly to his gallantry that the lives of the rest of the men were saved.’
  • 3Physics
    Deflect or diffuse (electromagnetic radiation or particles):

    ‘the light is scattered as it strikes particles suspended in the air’
    • ‘Some of the light that is reflected from the cylinder groove is scattered, and does not re-enter the interferometer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These scatter electrons beyond the limiting angle of the objective aperture, leaving fewer to contribute to the image of that region, which thus appears dark.’
    • ‘The light scattered by a particle passing through these beams is collected and focused on a photomultiplier tube.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4Baseball
    Pitch (balls) effectively, allowing several hits but little or no scoring.

    • ‘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

  • 1A small, dispersed amount of something:

    ‘a scatter of boulders round the pothole mouth’
    • ‘This includes a scatter of lesser paintings throughout the museums, galleries, and private collections of the world.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's only on paper that Shetland is part of Scotland at all - the scatter of half-empty green islands is just as close to Norway.’
    • ‘The formula seldom changes - address by the relevant chairman, the national anthem, a scatter of adverts, a quiz and a page or two of reminiscing.’
    • ‘She was five foot five inches tall and had a scatter of freckles across her nose.’
    • ‘My dad's uncle Johnny Boland came home and brought us this old record player and a scatter of records.’
    • ‘As soon as the office door shut with a bang, loud scatters of conversation broke into the silence.’
    • ‘The great pool is empty, except for a scatter of drink cans.’
    • ‘There are people here, and scatters of rubbish on the ground, which stand out against the white snow.’
    • ‘That decision was not made finally until the 1950s, and then it was decided that there would be just a scatter of plantations though the highlands.’
    • ‘All but one of the hearths Marshall found consisted of scatters of burned earth and charred animal bone.’
    • ‘She looked about twenty, with light blue eyes, a light tan with a scatter of freckles over her nose and long gold locks that fell in large waves down to her lower back.’
    • ‘He remembers feeling exhilarated when he emerged beneath a scatter of icy stars.’
    • ‘There was another scatter of applause and a short man with a ring of red hair around his shiny pink scalp moved onto the stage.’
    • ‘There was only a small scatter of other caravans and motorhomes when we arrived.’
    • ‘On the high moors, Mesolithic nomads and reindeer herders left scatters of flints which are still found in peat fire breaks to this day.’
    • ‘The banks are steep slides of rocks and mossy roots, pocketed with pitted red sand, driftgrass and slack alluvial soil, and stippled with a scatter of primroses and heaped heather.’
    • ‘Everything from delicious sausages to organic vegetables to honeys and jams were on show, luring a scatter of people to dip their hands into their pockets.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's called a scattergram, a diagram with a scatter of points.’
  • 2Statistics
    [mass noun] The degree to which repeated measurements or observations of a quantity differ.

    • ‘Flow cytometry showed a population of cells with slightly greater forward and side scatter than that of normal lymphocytes.’
    • ‘Results were most variable at the lowest glucose concentration, where in some cases scatter may be related to the small sample volume used.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our patients were obese, middle aged males with mild to moderate sleep apnoea, and there was wide scatter in all variables.’
  • 3Physics
    [mass noun] The scattering of light, other electromagnetic radiation, or particles.

    • ‘Optical scatter plays a major role in stray light simulations.’
    • ‘Treatment may include prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses to slightly overcorrect night vision and decrease the light scatter.’
    • ‘To date, the research team has found that 90 to 95 percent of light scatter generated is from optical properties of mitochondria.’
    • ‘There was considerable light scatter with each treatment, particularly at the higher fluences.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

scatter

/ˈskatə/