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

Perry was dispatched to the 100 block of North Denny Street on Oct. 19, 2016. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Unarmed man shot in back by IMPD officer settles lawsuit for millions," 11 July 2019 Senate President Peter Courtney dispatched state troopers to Oregon State University where then-Sens. Hillary Borrud | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "Oregon Senate Republicans’ walkout over climate vote: the 8 things you need to know to understand the standoff," 24 June 2019 Patrol officers dispatched to the area reportedly spotted the suspects driving a silver, 2005 Chevrolet Equinox and initiated a traffic stop. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Sugar Land Police arrest 2 Houston men for alleged New Territory home burglary," 14 June 2019 Her mother held it down with an oar while her father dispatched it with the swing of an ax. James Mcwilliams, Outside Online, "The Town That Lives with Rattlesnakes," 10 June 2019 As of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, AMD said optimizations to the operating system will dispatch work to adjacent cores on the same die first, which will greatly reduce latency. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X is a 16-core CPU aiming to topple Intel's gaming dominance," 10 June 2019 Baton Rouge police, initially dispatched to a call of a man fighting a woman, arrived at the scene and helped the Slidell officer in restraining Raymond. Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com, "Pelican Park summer youth league registration begins May 21," 10 May 2018 Middleton, Caldwell, Star, Nampa and Eagle all dispatched engines to the house fire. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Rural Canyon County family escapes fire, but house is total loss | Idaho Statesman," 27 Apr. 2018 Officers were dispatched about 12:20 a.m. Saturday to investigate a shooting call in the 4500 block of Village Fair Drive, near Big T Bazaar in central Oak Cliff. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "3 men found wounded after overnight shooting near Big T Bazaar in Oak Cliff," 22 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to a criminal complaint and West Allis dispatch records: At 8:25 p.m. July 2, a West Allis officer walked into the bathroom at McCarty Park, 2567 S. 79th St. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A West Allis police officer caught a naked man in a sexual act inside a McCarty Park bathroom, complaint says," 9 July 2019 But dispatch logs published on Twitter by Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon, the area’s 911 call center, show 28 calls for service since 2015. oregonlive.com, "A Mouseketeer mystery: Dennis Day’s extraordinary life and heartbreaking death," 6 July 2019 The officer was one of the first responders to a radio dispatch that said that Albers was threatening suicide. Joe Robertson, kansascity, "Parents of OP teen killed by police decry 'shameful' treatment by police, prosecutors | The Kansas City Star," 30 Apr. 2018 The first 911 call that came in to Ionia County dispatch connected to a murder-suicide on I-96. April Stevens, Detroit Free Press, "911 calls: I-96 murder-suicide scene described," 9 Jan. 2018 The fold is the Townsend Agency, a clandestine organization that Bosley (also played by Banks) says exists to protect people and dispatch of problems that traditional law enforcement cannot. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Kristen Stewart hurts a lot of men in the first Charlie’s Angels trailer," 27 June 2019 Reporters from six Israeli outlets sent fawning dispatches. The Economist, "An underwhelming start to the “ultimate” Israeli-Palestinian deal," 27 June 2019 General assistance, Mayfield Road: Geauga County dispatch requested June 18 that officers check for a vehicle that had left a location after the driver was seen slumped over the wheel. cleveland.com, "Man wanders off from flower-watering wife: Gates Mills Police Blotter," 26 June 2019 What can be learned from a collection of daily dispatches over the course of several decades? Laura Testino, nola.com, "New Orleans collector preserves decades of the city’s newspapers," 26 June 2019

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

14 Jul 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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