I am looking for a word in English that is a synonym for receive but is specific for the process of another scattering something to many rather than just sending individually.

  • If one entity sends something, another entity receives that something.

  • If one entity scatters something, other entities individually ... ??? ... (parts of) that something.

Possible near options are:

  • collect/gather, but that sounds more to me that many are sending to one (many-to-one instead of one-to-many). As "the state collects taxes from individials".
  • catch, seems more like a random process. As "one scatters coins, others catch these coins"

I am using the word scatter in the distribute sense, so if it helps we can work with:

  • If one entity distributes something, other entities individually ... ??? ... (parts of) that something.
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    Is scatter the right word to start with? In a lot of usages, a person or a machine is distributing a lot of small things like seeds or water droplets to a common receiver like a field or pavement. Can you give us another hint about what you’re trying to say? – Global Charm Jan 26 at 1:59
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    In stead of scatter, you want something like metes out or distributes. Scatters specifically implies there aren't any intended receivers. Grass seed is scattered. Back stage passes are meted out. And the lucky ones still receive them. – Phil Sweet Jan 26 at 2:16
  • @GlobalCharm, thank you. You are exactly right, this is the right context, a single computer scatters data across a computer cluster. Therefore each computer in the cluster receives that data. I am looking for a word more specific than receive. Incidentally, also receive is a word already taken to describe the other end of an (invididual) send , also I am stuck with the scatter in the first place but you can think the question for other equivalent words (like distribute, I still have the question). – alfC Jan 26 at 2:17
  • @PhilSweet, you are right. If you want, you can change scatter by distribute in my question if that helps. (+1 for metes out) – alfC Jan 26 at 2:19
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    How about "gather," as in “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling" (Jesus, in Matthew 23:37) – rhetorician Jan 26 at 3:30

The answer may depend on the accepted term (perhaps a metaphor) for receiving the thing being scattered. Would you say that each node on a network "sees" the scattered data? Sometimes, "receive" is the best word because everyone is intended to use what comes to them, e.g., manna.


My suggestion is accept. According to the etymology on Wiktionary, it comes from the frequentative form of the Latin accipio (to take). The outlying nodes of your system can accept the messages that are scattered by the central node. Taking sounds slightly more active than receiving and may be closer to what you have in mind.

I am assuming from your use of the verb scatter that the messages are not distributed in an orderly way, but somehow broadcast until the receivers indicate that all of the messages have been received for processing. You could, for example, imagine a bag of candies being scattered on a table in front of a group of children. There are many verbs that you could use to describe the children handling the candies, all of which have connotations of orderly or disorderly behavior.

Generally speaking, for anything involving “decoupled forms” in computer architecture, I go to the original work on Design Patterns by the Gang of Four, and look at the nouns they use for the classes and the verbs they use for the method calls. I don’t have my copy at hand right now, but I recall accept being used in some contexts like the one you describe.

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