V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary


verb, adjective

Definition: (v.) to spread or scatter something; (adj.) spread out or scattered and lacking in organization (especially in speech and writing)

Synonyms: (v.) disperse, distribute, disseminate, scatter, (adj.) scattered, loose, vague, rambling, unconcentrated, verbose, unfocused, disorganized

Antonyms: (v.) concentrate, collect, (adj.) concise, clear, succinct, organized

Tips: Diffuse comes from the Latin word diffundere, "to spread out." It can take the meaning of lessening something, because as something is diffused (scattered or dispersed), its impact is lessened. It may also be used as an adjective, with the same meaning (spread out or scattered). Note the difference in pronunciation: when used as a verb, the "s" in diffuse is hard, like a "z" sound; as an adjective, the "s" takes on a soft sound. Note: Do not confuse diffuse with defuse. Defuse means "to ease a difficult situation" or "defuse a bomb."

Usage Examples:

Sarah diffused the sugar throughout the cake mix by blending it slowly. (dispersed, distributed) verb

A lampshade will diffuse the bright glow of the light bulb. (scatter, lessen) verb

His speech was long, diffuse, and without any central theme. (unfocused, rambling) adjective

The customer service department was so diffuse that many customer complaints slipped through the cracks and were never addressed. (disorganized, unfocused) adjective

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