dis·​patch | \di-ˈspach \

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, ˈdis-ˌpach \

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 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

According to Deputy Chief Fernando Spagnolo, Waterbury officers were dispatched about 3 p.m. Saturday to an apartment at 15 Matson Court. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Police: Convicted Felon In Custody In New York For Waterbury Slaying," 14 May 2018 Disturbance, Electric Boulevard: On April 21, officers were dispatched for a disturbance. Cheryl Higley, cleveland.com, "Woman reports $30,000 in jewelry missing: Avon Lake Police Blotter," 27 Apr. 2018 Coaling police officers were dispatched just before 7 p.m. Tuesday to a possible kidnapping in in the 15000 block of Highway 11, said Capt. Gary Hood. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "Man wielding tire tool kidnaps and rapes woman, lawmen say," 25 Apr. 2018 This second expedition is quickly dispatched in these pages. Sara Wheeler, WSJ, "‘The White Darkness’ Review: Coming in From the Cold," 25 Oct. 2018 Afterwards, an Army National Guard helicopter and medical team were dispatched. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "A Teen Boy Scout Died While Rock Climbing on a Camping Trip in Oregon," 15 Oct. 2018 The team is dispatched not only to rescue in North Carolina, but all over the country, depending on demand. Allie Raffa, Fox News, "Hurricane Florence volunteers suit up for helicopter rescues in ravaged North Carolina," 19 Sep. 2018 Otherwise, a courier will be dispatched to pick up the bike to resolve more complex issues. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "Ampler Curt e-bike review: electric doesn’t have to mean big and ugly," 6 Sep. 2018 The original Instagram post can be seen below (WARNING: Viewer's discretion is advised): In April 2018, the police were again dispatched to the home after Cordon called 911. Jenny Vrentas, SI.com, "Everything We Know About the Allegations Against LeSean McCoy," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The hackers shut down the center’s computerized dispatch system and demanded more than $2,000 in bitcoin to turn it back on. NBC News, "Hackers have taken down dozens of 911 centers. Why is it so hard to stop them?," 3 Apr. 2018 Happy ordering! 'Time and Place' is Matt Hranek's regular dispatch on the latest watches from around the globe for Condé Nast Traveler. Matt Hranek, Condé Nast Traveler, "Time and Place: Rolex in Hilton Head," 14 Nov. 2018 As a correspondent for the anti-Semitic newspaper Social Justice, Johnson crafted stomach-churning dispatches from World War II-era Poland and Germany. Alex Beam, WSJ, "‘The Man in the Glass House’ Review: Throwing Stones at Philip Johnson," 2 Nov. 2018 As of a New York Times dispatch from the cup front in 2017, the video had been viewed more than 17 million times. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "How Starbucks’s annual holiday cup became a battleground for the heart and soul of America," 2 Nov. 2018 Welcome to the Holy Grails of Jewelry, Editor-in-Chief (and jewelry expert) Stellene Volandes's regular dispatch on iconic pieces and the most fascinating jewelers working today. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Lalaounis Has Reissued Jackie Kennedy's Iconic Apollo Earrings," 15 Aug. 2018 According to a 911 dispatch call obtained by TMZ, XXXTentacion's shooter allegedly wore a red mask during the shooting. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "XXXTentacion shooting: Deputies hunt for suspects, rappers deny involvement," 19 June 2018 Troopers were called to a house on Tote Road in Soldotna for a report of a drunk driver, according to an online dispatch from the AST. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Two Soldotna men arrested after alleged DUI, chase and assault on trooper," 4 June 2018 Grafton has had an emergency medical dispatch system since September 2015. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Grafton redirects 911 lines to Ozaukee County dispatch, might not keep police dept. lobby open 24/7," 2 May 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


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


see dispatch entry 1

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Statistics for dispatch

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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.

: to kill (a person or animal) quickly



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

: an important official message

: 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 \
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

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