diffuse

diffuse
defuse, diffuse
It is surprising how often diffuse (correctly = to disperse) is used for defuse in its figurative meaning ‘to remove tension or potential danger from (a crisis, etc.)’. Examples of this wrong use are:

• An early cut in base rates, which would…diffuse the dispute between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister —Times, 1988

• The Scott report is a time-bomb stealthy politicians and officials are trying to diffuse —Guardian, 1995

• She is coping because she has learned that forgiveness is the only way to diffuse ire and hatred —Birmingham Evening Mail, 2007.

Since this mistake is especially common in newspapers, we might suspect that close writing deadlines are the culprit here.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Diffuse — Dif*fuse , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Diffused}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Diffusing}.] [L. diffusus, p. p. of diffundere to pour out, to diffuse; dif = dis + fundere to pour. See {Fuse} to melt.] To pour out and cause to spread, as a fluid; to cause to flow on …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Diffuse — Dif*fuse , a. [L. diffusus, p. p.] Poured out; widely spread; not restrained; copious; full; esp., of style, opposed to {concise} or {terse}; verbose; prolix; as, a diffuse style; a diffuse writer. [1913 Webster] A diffuse and various knowledge… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Diffuse — Dif*fuse , v. i. To pass by spreading every way, to diffuse itself. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • diffusé — diffusé, ée (di ffu zé, zée) part. passé. Terme didactique. Répandu par diffusion. •   Les plantes montrèrent combien est rapide l action de la lumière qu elles reçoivent comme par une sorte de sens diffusé dans leurs corolles, FAYE Comptes… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • diffuse — adj prolix, redundant, verbose, *wordy Analogous words: *profuse, lavish, exuberant: desultory, casual, *random: copious (see PLENTIFUL): *loose, relaxed, slack, lax Antonyms: succinct Contrasted words: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • diffuse — [adj1] spread out broadcast, catholic, circulated, diluted, dispersed, disseminated, distributed, expanded, extended, general, prevalent, propagated, radiated, scattered, separated, strewn, thin, unconcentrated, universal, widespread; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • diffuse — I verb bespread, besprinkle, bestrew, break up, broadcast, cast forth, circulate, circumfuse, commingle, deal out, decentralize, diffundere, diffundi, disband, disintegrate, disperse, dispread, disseminate, dissipate, distribute, effuse, go in… …   Law dictionary

  • diffuse — (v.) 1520s (trans.), 1650s (intrans.), from L. diffusus, pp. of diffundere to pour out or away (see DIFFUSION (Cf. diffusion)). Related: Diffused; diffusing. The adj. is attested from early 15c., from L. diffusus …   Etymology dictionary

  • diffuse — ► VERB 1) spread over a wide area. 2) Physics (of a gas or liquid) travel or spread by diffusion. ► ADJECTIVE 1) spread out over a large area; not concentrated. 2) lacking clarity or conciseness. DERIVATIVES diffusely adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • diffuse — [di fyo͞os′; ] for v. [, difyo͞oz′] adj. [ME < L diffusus, pp. of diffundere, to pour in different directions < dis , apart + fundere, to pour: see FOUND2] 1. spread out or dispersed; not concentrated 2. using more words than are needed;… …   English World dictionary

  • diffuse — diffuses, diffusing, diffused (The verb is pronounced [[t]dɪfju͟ːz[/t]]. The adjective is pronounced [[t]dɪfju͟ːs[/t]].) 1) V ERG If something such as knowledge or information is diffused, or if it diffuses somewhere, it is made known over a wide …   English dictionary

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