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 dispatch (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 Few details have been released about the shooting, but according to dispatch audio from that day, first responders can be heard saying a man was hit and had gunshot wounds to the back. Natasha Chen, Gregory Lemos And Eric Levenson, CNN, 26 Apr. 2021 The department launched a 311 line in 2018 for non-emergency calls, which Foraker said also helped dispatch operators prioritize emergency calls and improve 911 wait times. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Apr. 2021 According to dispatch audio, the person who found the victims did not witness the shootings or observe anyone coming or going from the apartment. Randy Furst, Star Tribune, 30 Jan. 2021 In the Pacific Northwest, some cities considered plans for reimagining policing, including a proposal to dispatch civilians instead of officers on some calls. Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2021 Initially, the 911 caller said the home was vacant; however, a second call to dispatch suggested that a woman may have lived at the home. John Benson, cleveland, 19 May 2021 Immune cells start arriving to dispatch any bacteria or debris in the area. Megan Molteni, STAT, 24 Apr. 2021 The cleanup effort plans to dispatch an army of volunteers across the city with the help of nonprofits, community groups and neighborhood associations. oregonlive, 22 Apr. 2021 New Mexico’s effort to dispatch mobile units to rural communities like Hillsboro began in earnest on March 11, according to Laura Parajón, the state’s deputy health secretary. Mónica Ortiz Uribe, USA TODAY, 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The budget calls for the 911 fee to go up 25 cents per phone line to pay for improving emergency dispatch technology. Emily Opilo, baltimoresun.com, 8 June 2021 As East Precinct officers responded to the scene and approached the house, non-emergency radio dispatch was halted. oregonlive, 7 June 2021 Applications are available by request via email to rburson@avonlakepolice.org or can be picked up at the dispatch window in the department’s lobby, 32855 Walker Road. cleveland, 6 June 2021 The programs are largely integrated into police and emergency medicine dispatch networks. Peter Nickeas, CNN, 4 June 2021 Police dispatch were not impacted by the network issue, according to city officials. BostonGlobe.com, 3 June 2021 As medics raced to the scene, dispatch recordings caught the chaos unfolding in the rail yard. Julie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 May 2021 What happened next was captured on cellphone videos, a doorbell camera and dispatch radio traffic, according to the probable cause statement. Morgan Winsor, ABC News, 28 May 2021 Police asked that anyone with information about the shooting or surveillance footage call dispatch at 311. Anchorage Daily News, 28 May 2021

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

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dispatch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispatch. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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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