dis·​patch | \ di-ˈspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \
dispatched; dispatching; dispatches

Definition of dispatch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to send off or away with promptness or speed dispatch a letter dispatch an ambulance to the scene especially : to send off on official business dispatch a messenger
2a : to kill with quick efficiency dispatched the deer with one shot
b obsolete : deprive
3 : to dispose of (something, such as a task) rapidly or efficiently anxious to dispatch the matter … household business could not be dispatched hastily by Mrs. Tulliver.— George Eliot
4 : defeat sense 1 easily dispatching each team they played

intransitive verb

archaic : to make haste : hurry


dis·​patch | \ di-ˈspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) , ˈdi-ˌspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \

Definition of dispatch (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a message sent with speed especially : an important official message sent by a diplomatic, military, or naval officer sent a dispatch to headquarters
b : a news item filed (see file entry 4 sense 2b) by a correspondent dispatches from the war zone
2 : the act of dispatching: such as
a obsolete : dismissal
b : the act of killing
c(1) : prompt settlement (as of an item of business) Tom Pinch and his sister having to part, for the dispatch of the morning's business …, had no opportunity of discussing the subject at that time.— Charles Dickens
(2) : quick riddance
d : a sending off : shipment the immediate dispatch of supplies to the front
3 : promptness and efficiency in performance or transmission done with dispatch

Other Words from dispatch


dispatcher \ di-​ˈspa-​chər How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dispatch

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for dispatch


kill, slay, murder, assassinate, dispatch, execute mean to deprive of life. kill merely states the fact of death caused by an agency in any manner. killed in an accident frost killed the plants slay is a chiefly literary term implying deliberateness and violence but not necessarily motive. slew thousands of the Philistines murder specifically implies stealth and motive and premeditation and therefore full moral responsibility. convicted of murdering a rival assassinate applies to deliberate killing openly or secretly often for political motives. terrorists assassinated the Senator dispatch stresses quickness and directness in putting to death. dispatched the sentry with one bullet execute stresses putting to death as a legal penalty. executed by lethal gas


haste, hurry, speed, expedition, dispatch mean quickness in movement or action. haste applies to personal action and implies urgency and precipitancy and often rashness. marry in haste hurry often has a strong suggestion of agitated bustle or confusion. in the hurry of departure she forgot her toothbrush speed suggests swift efficiency in movement or action. exercises to increase your reading speed expedition and dispatch both imply speed and efficiency in handling affairs but expedition stresses ease or efficiency of performance and dispatch stresses promptness in concluding matters. the case came to trial with expedition paid bills with dispatch

Examples of dispatch in a Sentence

Verb Rescue workers were immediately dispatched to the area. The hotel dispatched a limo to pick us up from the airport. He dispatched the guard with one bullet. Noun The general sent a dispatch to headquarters. He requested the immediate dispatch of supplies. The reporter sent many dispatches from the war zone. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That has spurred the U.S., Britain and the European Union to dispatch teams or offer other assistance. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 23 Feb. 2022 New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday a plan to dispatch teams composed of outreach workers, cops and mental health experts to combat homelessness and rampant crime in the subways. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 18 Feb. 2022 President Biden announced Thursday that his administration would buy 500 million more COVID-19 tests for Americans, and dispatch military medical teams to help at hospitals overwhelmed with patients sickened in the Omicron coronavirus variant wave. Harold Maass, The Week, 14 Jan. 2022 President Biden on Tuesday announced plans to dispatch medical teams to hospitals in the Midwest and Northeast that can’t keep up with the demand, but D.C., Maryland and Virginia are not on the list. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 For the first time, San Diego County is poised to dispatch mobile teams of mental health professionals dedicated to responding to people in crisis instead of sending police officers and sheriff’s deputies. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Nov. 2021 According to an October poll by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, 65% of respondents believed the U.S. would dispatch troops to Taiwan. Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2022 In fact, France, the United States, Great Britain and Germany have vowed to dispatch additional troops. Anchorage Daily News, 8 Feb. 2022 The bloc agreed to dispatch troops to Kazakhstan, marking the first time in 30 years that the CSTO has deployed collective forces to one of its member states. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 6 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Separate from the complaints filed this past week, the workers and union officials also say that a new dispatch system installed by Grady has proven to be unreliable and unsafe. Michael E. Kanell, ajc, 7 Aug. 2022 The box is hooked to a dispatch system that alerts emergency responders when a baby is placed inside. Krista Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 14 July 2022 The city's dispatch system showed a report of a shooting in progress at 5209 F St. at 10:02 a.m. Saturday. Grant Lancaster, Arkansas Online, 23 Apr. 2022 After shooting, the officer calls the incident into dispatch and begins running down the street after Johnson. Gloria Rebecca Gomez, The Arizona Republic, 14 July 2022 Video taken from the outside of the school during the incident, obtained by ABC News, includes what appears to be dispatch audio informing officers on scene that a child is calling 911 from a classroom. Travis Caldwell, CNN, 31 May 2022 Within minutes, fire and emergency medical crews from throughout the region were heading to the scene, according to dispatch audio. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 May 2022 At one point, paramedics with the Portland Fire & Rescue Bureau were asked to respond to the scene to check on an officer who a dispatcher reported may have been hit, according to dispatch audio. oregonlive, 9 May 2022 Connecticut State Police troopers may use in-car radios, computers or cellphones to communicate with dispatch, supervisors or other first responders. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 13 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dispatch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dispatch


1517, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dispatch

Verb and Noun

Spanish despachar or Italian dispacciare, from Occitan despachar to get rid of, from Middle French despechier to set free, from Old French, from des- dis- + -pechier (as in enpechier to ensnare) — more at impeach

Learn More About dispatch

Time Traveler for dispatch

Time Traveler

The first known use of dispatch was in 1517

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near dispatch



dispatch boat

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for dispatch

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dispatch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispatch. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for dispatch


dis·​patch | \ di-ˈspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \
dispatched; dispatching

Kids Definition of dispatch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to send away quickly to a certain place or for a certain reason The general dispatched a messenger.
2 : to get done quickly She dispatched one job and moved to the next.
3 : kill entry 1 sense 1 dispatch a sick animal

Other Words from dispatch

dispatcher noun



Kids Definition of dispatch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : message sense 1 Send a dispatch to headquarters.
2 : a news story sent in to a newspaper
3 : speed entry 1 sense 1 You must act with dispatch.

More from Merriam-Webster on dispatch

Nglish: Translation of dispatch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dispatch for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!