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) , ˈdis-ˌpach 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 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

And federal authorities have been dispatched to support state and local police and conduct a full and thorough federal investigation. Alex Ward, Vox, "Trump calls the Pittsburgh shooting “anti-Semitic” and a “wicked act of mass murder”," 27 Oct. 2018 Last year alone, the center answered more than 350,000 calls and dispatched emergency units more than 204,000 times, according to the suit. Sam Stanton, sacbee, "Sacramento's new 911 system was due last year. Firm wants another 22 years to deliver, fire officials say," 26 June 2018 The Lady Panthers, however, won that series 2-0 and moved on to Lufkin Hudson, another heavy junior-senior laden team that the Lady Panthers dispatched in two games. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Lady Panthers named KUBE ‘Team of the Week’," 17 June 2018 Orland Park recently dispatched an officer and drone to help search for a missing person in a wooded area of Richton Park, McCarthy said. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Orland Park a rare police agency using drones as state considers allowing the devices for surveillance," 8 June 2018 Azar said Thursday morning that an army of government workers had been dispatched to review files and conduct DNA testing to match parents with their children. Maria Sacchetti, Philly.com, "Trump administration seeks to extend deadline to reunite some migrant families," 6 July 2018 Police said officers were dispatched at 10:43 p.m. Wednesday to Pisgah View Apartments in southwest Asheville to help firefighters who were being assaulted. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Firefighters, police in NC city assaulted by July 4 fireworks," 5 July 2018 Police and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to the northbound lanes of the interstate at the Stuenkel Road exit in Will County, police said. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "State police say body found in ditch along I-57," 2 July 2018 The initial call came in about an hour ago, at which point 10 engines and 70 firefighters were dispatched. Cheri Mossburg, CNN, "1 person killed in explosion at California medical facility," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 And a ransomware assault hit Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system around the same time. Andy Rosen, BostonGlobe.com, "Hackers get $10,000 in bitcoin after attack on Leominster schools," 1 May 2018 The Alaska State Troopers' emergency dispatch system relies on four regional hubs that use different computer systems. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Governor’s request for $9.5 million to improve Alaska’s aging 911 system rejected in Senate," 26 Apr. 2018 Krebs, according to testimony and the documents, was manipulating the camera from the sheriff’s dispatch office. Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, "Sheriff’s use of courtroom camera to view juror’s notebook, lawyer’s notes sparks dismissal of criminal case," 4 Feb. 2019 Lovato's wedding-day dispatch was her first post on her Instagram feed this year. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Demi Lovato Was a Bridesmaid in Her Former Babysitter's Wedding This Weekend," 14 Jan. 2019 This week’s dispatch follows a December report in the New York Post on various Starbucks locations in Manhattan: A half-dozen toilets were locked or barricaded for no clear reason. James Freeman, WSJ, "Tragedy of the Starbucks Commons," 10 Jan. 2019 Witnesses who reported seeing the accident or seeing something fall off a truck were not interviewed until Joleen asked to see dispatch records, noticed their names and asked officials to contact them. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Nightmare #1: Husband's death by flying debris on I-94. Nightmare #2: The investigation," 29 June 2018 Police released some 2,100 pages of police reports, witness statements and dispatch records Wednesday with names and identifying characteristics blacked out. Fox News, "The Latest: Witnesses, officers describe Vegas shooting," 23 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

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

24 Mar 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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