dis·​miss·​al dis-ˈmi-səl How to pronounce dismissal (audio)
: the act of dismissing : the fact or state of being dismissed

Examples of dismissal in a Sentence

numerous dismissals from the company during the economic slump
Recent Examples on the Web Even when one experiences an intense emotional reaction, healthy relationships prioritize curiosity and compassion over denial and dismissal. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 5 Apr. 2024 His lawyers sought a 90-day delay, or an outright dismissal, blaming prosecutorial misconduct for the last-minute cache of documents. William K. Rashbaum, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 Trump's team sought to delay proceedings even further, or an outright dismissal of the case, accusing prosecutors of misconduct for failing to turn over the new tranche of documents sooner. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 3 Apr. 2024 Schools across the country are adjusting schedules, including letting kids out early or delaying dismissal, on April 8, 2024. Anna Halkidis, Parents, 1 Apr. 2024 Drake, who came out as a surprise guest at the end of Scott’s Astroworld performance, similarly motioned for dismissal last week as well. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 28 Mar. 2024 McAfee ordered Thursday's hearing to consider three motions from lawyers for Trump and co-defendant David Shafer related to the dismissal of the indictment. Peter Charalambous, ABC News, 28 Mar. 2024 Monitoring safety as students turn their gaze to the sky, especially during dismissal, could pose a challenge for school employees. Nick Sullivan, The Arizona Republic, 22 Mar. 2024 After two sketchy hires and a string of management mistakes, the Cardinal made a shrewd move Monday and charged Kyle Smith with resuscitating its dormant men’s basketball program following the dismissal of Jerod Haase. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 25 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dismissal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1778, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dismissal was in 1778

Dictionary Entries Near dismissal

Cite this Entry

“Dismissal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dismissal. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition


: removal from a position or service
: the termination of an action or claim usually before the presentation of evidence by the defendant
involuntary dismissal
: the dismissal of an action by the court because of the plaintiff's failure to pursue his or her case
: the dismissal of an action by the court upon motion of the defendant after presentation of the plaintiff's case made on the grounds that the plaintiff has shown no right to relief

Note: An involuntary dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) prevents the plaintiff from bringing suit again based on the same claim.

voluntary dismissal
: the dismissal of an action by the plaintiff

Note: Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a), a plaintiff may dismiss an action without a court order anytime before the defendant serves an answer or moves for summary judgment, or by stipulation of the parties. Otherwise, a court order is required. A court-ordered dismissal will not prevent the plaintiff from bringing the action again unless the order so states. A dismissal without a court order will not bar the plaintiff from bringing the action again unless the plaintiff has brought the same action already.

: the cancellation of an indictment, information, complaint, or charge

Note: Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48, the attorney for the government may dismiss the indictment, information, or complaint with the court's approval. The court may also dismiss it if there is unnecessary delay in the government's prosecution of the case.

: a document setting forth the request for a dismissal
plaintiff filed a dismissal

More from Merriam-Webster on dismissal

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