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 3 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

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Other Words from dispatch


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for dispatch

Synonyms: Verb

consign, pack (off), send, ship, shoot, transfer, transmit, transport

Synonyms: Noun

epistle, letter, memo, memorandum, missive, note

Antonyms: Verb

accept, receive

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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


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.


The general sent a dispatch to headquarters. He requested the immediate dispatch of supplies. The reporter sent many dispatches from the war zone.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Privacy - Terms At 7:15 a.m. Jan. 1, Boise Police were dispatched to the 900 block of South Wild Phlox Way to a report that there was a man with a gun on the porch of a home. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "Boise Police officer's actions were justified in Jan. 1 shooting, prosecutor says," 26 June 2018 Houston police were dispatched to 6100 Werner, the location of a shooting in the Northline community located in north Houston. Houston Chronicle, "Police investigating shooting in north Houston, three injured," 29 May 2018 Police and medics were dispatched to the home Tuesday night. Parker Perry, ajc, "Ohio man shoots wife, stepdaughter in murder-suicide," 17 May 2018 Event spokesman Hugo Steinegger said two companies of Swiss military forces — totaling about 180 people — who had been deployed for the races were quickly dispatched to the avalanche site to help with the rescue. Jamey Keaten, The Seattle Times, "Avalanche hits skiers at Swiss resort; 4 rescued so far," 19 Feb. 2019 Officers were initially dispatched to Arctic after reports that a man was brandishing a weapon and pointing it at people, police said. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Police deploy gas in Midtown standoff before arresting armed man," 13 July 2018 Gary police, fire and EMS were dispatched to the scene at about 12:20 a.m., officials said. Cain Buchmeier, Post-Tribune, "Man fatally shot in Gary," 4 July 2018 Guglielmi said officers were dispatched to the area. Deanese Williams-harris And Annie Sweeney, chicagotribune.com, "Missing Milwaukee girl found in Chicago after disturbing video surfaces on Facebook," 28 June 2018 Police said officers were dispatched to the area and observed the bear. Kathleen Mcwilliams, Courant Community, "Bear Ambles Around Wethersfield Schools Friday Morning," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cincinnati dispatch says police received a call around 6:30 a.m. about the body at 212 E. Clifton Ave. Sarah Hager, Cincinnati.com, "Police investigating dead body found in OTR," 2 July 2018 Just one fire engine responded, fire dispatch said. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "The mayor of Oakland helped put out a fire at City Hall. That's not a metaphor | The Sacramento Bee," 13 Apr. 2018 The city of Baltimore says part of its 911 dispatch system was hacked over the weekend by an unknown actor. Paula Reid, CBS News, "Hack disrupted Baltimore 911 dispatch system for 17 hours, mayor says," 27 Mar. 2018 Fire dispatch said mutual aid companies from other towns were not needed at the scene, but were called in to staff the town fire stations while North Branford units responded to the school. Bill Leukhardt, courant.com, "'Minor' Fire On Roof Of Elementary School In North Branford," 17 Mar. 2018 Newport News police officers are on scene in the area of 28th Street and Roanoke after report of a shooting, dispatch said around 9:50 p.m. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire police report," 19 Feb. 2018 The incident was called in at 6:48 p.m. The driver of the vehicle did not flee and was at the scene with police, dispatch said. Michael Katz, idahostatesman, "Pedestrian struck by vehicle Friday evening near State Street," 2 Feb. 2018 The couple had been Instagramming dreamy dispatches from their beach vacation and the proposal is certainly a fitting end to their romantic getaway. Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez Are Engaged," 10 Mar. 2019 Much of that dispatch can be traced back to none other than President Trump. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "McConnell threat to nix entire August recess fizzles," 3 Aug. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for dispatch

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dispatch

The first known use of dispatch was in 1517

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More Definitions for dispatch



English Language Learners Definition of dispatch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to send (someone or something) quickly to a particular place for a particular purpose
: to defeat (a person or team) in a game, contest, etc.
old-fashioned : to kill (a person or animal) quickly



English Language Learners Definition of dispatch (Entry 2 of 2)

: an important official message
somewhat formal : the act of sending someone or something to a particular place for a particular purpose
: a news story that a reporter sends to a newspaper usually from a foreign country


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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dispatch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dispatch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dispatch

Spanish Central: Translation of dispatch

Nglish: Translation of dispatch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dispatch for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dispatch

What made you want to look up dispatch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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