Revised as of 23 August 2017
A query about the difference between disburse and disperse came up in an erotic novel I was reading…see, anything one reads can be educational…
The two words do have a definition, sort of, in common: they both scatter. Only, disburse scatters according to a plan while disperse scatters randomly. And only, disburse is about money.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: disperse|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Verb, transitive||Adjective; Verb, intransitive & transitive|
|Pay out money from a fund
To distribute or scatter
Denoting a phase dispersed in another phase, as in a colloid
Verb, intransitive and transitive:
|The proceeds were disbursed monthly.
Disburse the troops over a wide area to prevent the enemy pinpointing them too easily.
They said that $67 million of the pledged aid had already been disbursed.
She’s out there every day, disbursing bread for the geese.
Emulsions should be examined after storage for droplet size of the disperse phase.
The earlier mist had dispersed, allowing the sun to shine forth.
Camping sites should be dispersed among trees so as to be out of sight.
The police used tear gas to disperse the protesters.
Winds dispersed the bomb’s radioactive cloud high in the atmosphere.
Miss Perkins, you will have to redo your experiment, as you did not disperse the elements as thoroughly as the instructions required.
|Adjective: disbursable, nondisbursable, nondisbursed
Noun: disbursal, disbursement, disburser
Transitive Verb: redisburse, redisbursed, redisbursing
|Adjective: dispersible, dispersive
Noun: disperser, dispersibility, dispersion
Transitive Verb: predisperse, predispersed, predispersing
|History of the Word:|
|Mid-16th century from the Old French desbourser, which is from des- (expressing removal) + bourse (purse), which came from the Late Latin bursa meaning bag.||Late Middle English from the Latin dispers- meaning scattered, which is from the verb dispergere, which is itself from dis- (widely) + spargere (scatter, strew).|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
Pinterest Photo Credits
Force 80™ Anti-Pirate Water Cannon System in a post, “New Anti-Pirate Water Cannon Video Released“, 15 August 2011, on MarineLink.com. I couldn’t find my source for the riot. If anyone recognizes it, please let me know. Famous Dollar Bill Wallpaper, Oatman Hotel, Oatman, Arizona by Ken Lund is under the CC BY-SA license, via Visualhunt.com