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dis·perse / disˈpərs/ • v. [tr.] distribute or spread over a wide area: storms can disperse seeds via high altitudes camping sites could be dispersed among trees so as to be out of sight. ∎  go or cause to go in different directions or to different destinations: [intr.] the crowd dispersed | [tr.] the police used tear gas to disperse the protesters. ∎  cause (gas, smoke, mist, or cloud) to thin out and eventually disappear: winds dispersed the bomb's radioactive cloud high in the atmosphere. ∎  [intr.] thin out and disappear: the earlier mist had dispersed. ∎  Physics divide (light) into constituents of different wavelengths. ∎  Chem. distribute (small particles) uniformly in a medium. • adj. Chem. denoting a phase dispersed in another phase, as in a colloid: emulsions should be examined after storage for droplet size of the disperse phase. DERIVATIVES: dis·pers·er n. dis·pers·i·ble adj. dis·per·sive / -siv/ adj.

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disperse XIV. — F. disperser, f. dispers — L. dispersus, pp. of dispergere, f. DIS- 1 + spargere strew.
Hence dispersal XIX; see -AL 2. dispersion XIV (earliest in spec. meaning of ‘Jews dispersed among Gentiles after the Babylonian Captivity’ tr. Gr. DIASPORA).