dissipate vs scatter what difference

what is difference between dissipate and scatter



Borrowed from Latin dissipatus, past participle of dissipare, also written dissupare (to scatter, disperse, demolish, destroy, squander, dissipate), from dis- (apart) + supare (to throw), also in comp. insipare (to throw into).


  • IPA(key): /ˈdɪsɪpeɪt/


dissipate (third-person singular simple present dissipates, present participle dissipating, simple past and past participle dissipated)

  1. (transitive) To drive away, disperse.
    • August 1773, James Cook, journal entry
      I soon dissipated his fears.
    • 1817, William Hazlitt, The Round Table
      The extreme tendency of civilization is to dissipate all intellectual energy.
  2. (transitive) To use up or waste; squander.
    • 1679-1715, Gilbert Burnet, History of the Reformation
      The vast wealth [] was in three years dissipated.
    • 1931, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Babylon Revisited
      So much for the effort and ingenuity of Montmartre. All the catering to vice and waste was on an utterly childish scale, and he suddenly realized the meaning of the word “dissipate“—to dissipate into thin air; to make nothing out of something.
  3. (intransitive) To vanish by dispersion.
  4. (physics) To cause energy to be lost through its conversion to heat.
  5. (intransitive, colloquial, dated) To be dissolute in conduct.

Related terms

  • dissipation


Further reading

  • dissipate in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • dissipate in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • “dissipate”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.




  1. inflection of dissipare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative
  2. feminine plural of dissipato




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of dissipō



From Middle English scateren, skateren, (also schateren, see shatter), from Old English *sceaterian, probably from a dialect of Old Norse. Possibly related to Proto-Indo-European *skey- (to cut, split, shatter). Compare Middle Dutch scheteren (to scatter), Low German schateren, Dutch schateren (to burst out laughing); and is apparently remotely akin to Ancient Greek σκεδάννυμι (skedánnumi, scatter, disperse). Doublet of shatter.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈskætə/
  • (General American) enPR: skătʹər, IPA(key): /ˈskætɚ/
  • Rhymes: -ætə(ɹ)
  • Hyphenation: scat‧ter


scatter (third-person singular simple present scatters, present participle scattering, simple past and past participle scattered)

  1. (ergative) To (cause to) separate and go in different directions; to disperse.
    The crowd scattered in terror.
  2. (transitive) To distribute loosely as by sprinkling.
    Her ashes were scattered at the top of a waterfall.
    • Why should my muse enlarge on Libyan swains, / Their scattered cottages, and ample plains?
  3. (transitive, physics) To deflect (radiation or particles).
  4. (intransitive) To occur or fall at widely spaced intervals.
  5. (transitive) To frustrate, disappoint, and overthrow.
    to scatter hopes or plans
  6. (transitive) To be dispersed upon.
    Desiccated stalks scattered the fields.
  7. (transitive, baseball) Of a pitcher: to keep down the number of hits or walks.


  • (disperse): See also Thesaurus:disperse

Derived terms

  • scatterbrain
  • scatterplot
  • scattershot



scatter (countable and uncountable, plural scatters)

  1. The act of scattering or dispersing.
  2. A collection of dispersed objects.
    • 2006, Theano S. Terkenli, Anne-Marie d’Hauteserre, Landscapes of a New Cultural Economy of Space, Springer Science & Business Media →ISBN, page 84
    • 2015, Ian Shennan, Antony J. Long, Benjamin P. Horton, Handbook of Sea-Level Research, John Wiley & Sons →ISBN, page 19

Further reading

  • scatter at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • scatter in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • scatter in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.



  • tracest

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