scatter about

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scatter about

1. To strew, distribute, or disperse things all around (some place), especially in a haphazard or aimless manner. A noun or pronoun can be used between "scatter" and "about." I leaped into the pile of leaves and scattered them about. The cat jumped onto my desk and scattered about all my important documents. I scattered my grandmother's ashes about the field, as she instructed in her will.
2. To separate and distribute rays of light in many different directions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "scatter" and "about." The crystal scatters the sunlight about in a myriad of colors. The gems in the cave scattered about the light from the flashlight.
See also: scatter
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

scatter something about and scatter something around

to throw or distribute something about. The children scattered the books about and left the room in a general mess. They scattered about all the books and papers.
See also: and, around, scatter
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
And scattered about it, some in their over- turned war-machines, some in the now rigid handling- machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row, were the Martians--DEAD!--slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unpre- pared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.
The way things was scattered about we reckoned the people left in a hurry, and warn't fixed so as to carry off most of their stuff.