Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. The act of dispersing or of being dispersed. Synonym(s): dispersal
2. Incorporation of the particles of one substance into the mass of another, including solutions, suspensions, and colloidal dispersions (solutions).
3. Specifically, what is usually called a colloidal solution.
4. The extent or degree in which values of a statistical frequency distribution are scattered about a mean or median value.
[L. dispersio]


the act of disseminating or scattering the seeds of plants, or the larvae of animals (particularly important in sessile animals), or any movement of adults. Animal larvae may be mobile, but the dispersal of spores, seeds and fruits is brought about by wind, water and animals, and in some plants explosive mechanisms are present.

Many mechanisms exist to aid dispersal: some fruits, e.g. teasel, burdock, are hooked, becoming attached to the bodies of animals; some parasites use vectors (e.g. a mosquito in the case of the malarial parasite), to carry parasitic organisms between hosts; and some larvae of marine animals move to different layers of water where current direction may be different from the level at which the adults live. Dispersal techniques include EMIGRATION, IMMIGRATION and MIGRATION.

References in periodicals archive ?
Grasslands are dominated by non-woody plants that rely on wind for seed dispersal, whereas natural selection apparently does not favor succulent fruits in arid environments where water economy is at a premium (Beck & Vander Wall, 2010).
Mr Pritchard said the dispersal order was introduced because of "significant concerns" about underage drinking, scooter riding, urinating in public and other anti-social behaviour.
Police and the local council have applied for a dispersal order that will prohibit two or more people from gathering inside or outside the Nisa shop in Kingswood Road.
Dispersal of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti within and between rural communities.
Midwives often asked women due to be dispersed to contact them on arrival at their dispersal destination, so that they could alert the maternity service in the new area, but this left the responsibility for doing this with the woman.
Breeding dispersal probability among Mexican Spotted Owls in the Sacramento Mountains was influenced by social status, age class, reproductive status, and sex.
Seed predation and dispersal by peccaries throughout the neotropics and its consequences: a review and synthesis.
This transgression could have flooded intracratonic arches and facilitated dispersal between geographically separated areas (Wright & Stigall 2013), such as the basins in Cincinnati, the Upper Mississippi Valley and north of the Transcontinental Arch regions.
The dispersal zone was announced on Twitter by the force's city centre unit.
The dispersal order for Caerphilly town centre complements our Town Safe initiative, which aims to reduce drunken behaviour and related anti-social behaviour and violence linked to the night-time economy.
CARLISLE'S Borderway Mart is to host a complete dispersal of the renowned Tweeddale British Blue herd.
Finally, the EIPR asserts that the absence of the truth for the last two years since the dispersal is as chaotic as the killing of 1,000 protesters.