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

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Other Words from dispatch


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for dispatch

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Whether the companies will dispatch their top executives remains unclear. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos willing to testify before Congress in antitrust investigation," 15 June 2020 The president also has the ability to dispatch the military or federalize the National Guard in states that either defy federal law or cannot control insurrections under the Insurrection Act of 1807, according to USA TODAY. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Fact check: National Guard was activated most often during the civil rights era," 15 June 2020 Pasandeh said Iran was consulting with Iraq to dispatch teams of marine experts to the scene. Washington Post, "News agency: Iranian ship sinks in Iraqi waters, 1 dead," 5 June 2020 The chaos finally prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to dispatch extra police officers to the area, the New York Post reported Tuesday. Fox News, "Looters run wild in Bronx as video shows NYPD officer being beaten: 'Fordham is on fire'," 3 June 2020 Presidents since Kennedy have used the law to dispatch troops only at a governor’s request. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "What are the chances Trump could send in federal troops to states on his own? It’s been done before," 2 June 2020 Democratic lawmakers said they were alarmed by Trump’s threat to dispatch the U.S. military against Americans demonstrating against police brutality. Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Threatens to Use Troops to Crush Unrest in U.S. Cities," 2 June 2020 Federal law allows presidents to dispatch the military into states to suppress an insurrection or if a state is defying federal law, legal experts said. Anchorage Daily News, "Another night of violence in US cities again overshadows peaceful protests," 2 June 2020 Large swaths of police units and the national guard have been dispatched in several cities across the nation as law enforcement attempted to keep the peace. Dominick Mastrangelo, Washington Examiner, "'A PR stunt': Some protesters don't want to see police taking a knee during demonstrations," 8 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Police dispatch records showed over 20 units responding to a premise check at that location. oregonlive, "Police tactical, crisis negotiation teams on scene of incident in Sellwood," 28 June 2020 As officers made their way to the home, dispatch informed them that a woman, 31, had been hit in the face by her husband, 38, and was bleeding from the mouth. cleveland, "Two teens arrested for aggravated robbery in gun theft: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 27 June 2020 In the latest edition of COVID Chronicles, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell continues to examine the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on Black business owners, with a dispatch out of North Carolina. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Candidates for prosecutor explore "defund the police"," 25 June 2020 The dispatch center received a 911 call around 9 p.m. Monday reporting gunshots fired at a home on Bar X Road. Helen Wieffering, azcentral, "Man arrested after woman fatally shot inside Tonto Basin home," 23 June 2020 The latest dispatch from homegrown Alabama reporter Stephanie McCrummen centers on a NASCAR-loving town grappling with the sport’s ban of the Confederate flag. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "Dear white people: The work takes time," 23 June 2020 The movie follows González's sudden dispatch to America, work infiltrating and then sabotaging a Cuban-American group working against Fidel Castro, and eventual 1998 arrest. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, "Here’s What Happened To Olga After The Events Of Wasp Network," 20 June 2020 Tyler has seen steady growth over 22 years because its software manages essential services, such as 911 dispatch, courts, property taxes, utilities and payroll -- things that will never go out of business. Natalie Walters, Dallas News, "Tyler Technologies gets a spot on the coveted S&P 500 Index, joining the big leagues with Facebook and Apple," 19 June 2020 The fires were both reported between about 6:30 and 7 p.m., according to Kenton County dispatch. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Units respond to two Ludlow fires, one at Southern Railway; no one hurt," 10 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for dispatch

Time Traveler

The first known use of dispatch was in 1517

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Statistics for dispatch

Last Updated

21 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dispatch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispatch. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for dispatch


How to pronounce dispatch (audio)

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


How to pronounce dispatch (audio) How to pronounce dispatch (audio)

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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