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.
scatter (third-person singular simple present scatters, present participle scattering, simple past and past participle scattered)
- (ergative) To (cause to) separate and go in different directions; to disperse.
- The crowd scattered in terror.
c. 1588–1593, William Shakespeare, “The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene ii]:
Scatter and disperse the giddy Goths.
- (transitive) To distribute loosely as by sprinkling.
- Her ashes were scattered at the top of a waterfall.
- (Can we date this quote by Dryden and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
- Why should my muse enlarge on Libyan swains, / Their scattered cottages, and ample plains?
- (transitive, physics) To deflect (radiation or particles).
- (intransitive) To occur or fall at widely spaced intervals.
- (transitive) To frustrate, disappoint, and overthrow.
- to scatter hopes or plans
- (transitive) To be dispersed upon.
- Desiccated stalks scattered the fields.
2016, J. D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy, page 21:
[…] its beauty is obscured by the environmental waste and loose trash that scatter the countryside.
to distribute loosely
- Maori: whakamarara, tītaritari, tītari, kaihora
- Norwegian: strø
- Old Turkic: 𐰽𐰲 (sač-)
- Portuguese: espalhar (pt)
- Russian: разбра́сывать (ru) impf (razbrásyvatʹ), разброса́ть (ru) pf (razbrosátʹ), разбры́згивать (ru) impf (razbrýzgivatʹ), разбры́згать (ru) pf (razbrýzgatʹ) (liquid)
- Scottish Gaelic: breac, fras
- Spanish: esparcir (es)
- Swedish: beströ (sv)
- Turkish: saçmak (tr), savurmak (tr), serpmek (tr), serpiştirmek (tr)
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
Translations to be checked
scatter (countable and uncountable, plural scatters)
- The act of scattering or dispersing.
- 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
The Los Angeles Basin evolved as a mobility surface principally through the combination of an initial system of electric railways connecting a scatter of agricultural settlement settlements.
- 2015, Ian Shennan, Antony J. Long, Benjamin P. Horton, Handbook of Sea-Level Research, John Wiley & Sons →ISBN, page 19
The plot of all our sea-level index points shows a scatter of data points that do not overlap […]