Disburse vs. Disperse

Though they are not homophones, when they are heard out of context “disburse” and “disperse” are easily confused. Disburse is used to refer to the distribution of money or other assets, e.g. “The Board of Directors resolved to disburse dividends to the shareholders.” Disperse is used in reference to the distribution, scattering or spreading of other things, often people, e.g. “The police officers attempted to disperse the crowd that had gathered.

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