In statistics, dispersion (also called variability, scatter, or spread) is the extent to which a distribution is stretched or squeezed. Common examples of measures of statistical dispersion are the variance, standard deviation, and interquartile range. For instance, when the variance of data in a set is large, the data is widely scattered. On the other hand, when the variance is small, the data in the set is clustered.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)
Dispersion is contrasted with location or central tendency, and together they are the most used properties of distributions.