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 Officers were dispatched to The SoNo Collection, 100 North Water St., about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday for a male construction worker who had fallen from an elevated height, police said. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Police release name of construction worker who fell to his death in Norwalk," 13 Nov. 2019 West Precinct officers were dispatched to a home in the 800 block of Arthur Shores Drive in southwest Birmingham about 2:30 p.m., said Sgt. Rod Mauldin. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Toddler boy accidentally shoots himself at southwest Birmingham home," 9 Nov. 2019 Rescuers have been dispatched to the region, officials said. Washington Post, "Iran 5.9 magnitude earthquake kills at least 5, injures 120," 8 Nov. 2019 The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were dispatched to the home on a noise complaint Halloween night. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Orinda shooting: Parents say Airbnb allowed dangerous party conditions that led to son’s death," 7 Nov. 2019 Mexican national police and military forces were dispatched to the border state of Sonora on a search operation Monday night following reports that at least five U.S. citizens, including four children, were shot and killed, Mexican authorities said. Alex Johnson, NBC News, "Mexico deploys forces after reports of deadly ambush of Americans," 5 Nov. 2019 Five minutes after the shooting was reported, police were dispatched to a second shooting half a mile away at 11312 Westheimer Road, where a 28-year-old woman had been shot following an altercation outside the bar, Cannon said. Gwendolyn Wu, Houston Chronicle, "Man dies and woman injured in Westchase shootings," 3 Nov. 2019 The post said the department’s Heavy Extrication and Collapse Rescue Team was dispatched to the scene. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "2 Dead After Car Falls from Fourth Floor of Indianapolis Parking Garage," 23 Oct. 2019 Officers and Tampa Fire Rescue were dispatched around 6:24 p.m. after her parents called 911, the station says. CBS News, "Child hot car deaths on pace to break U.S. record, safety advocacy group says," 15 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No injuries were reported when the crash occurred about 1:15 a.m., according to dispatch. Jennifer Edwards Baker, Cincinnati.com, "Update: NB I-75 reopens after semi crash, fuel spill closed it for 7 hours," 12 Nov. 2019 The state medical examiner will conduct an autopsy on Evan Waskey, the dispatch said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Man facing murder charge after deadly fight in Western Alaska," 11 Nov. 2019 After dispatch, the patron is seen riding the Sky Rider, holding his body weight with his arms. NBC News, "Florida boy, 10, injured in scary zip line fall caught on surveillance tape," 5 Nov. 2019 This was eventually deemed a rather slender thread to justify the dispatch of over 500,000, and ultimately a total of nearly 2 million, conscripts to a combat zone where 58,000 Americans would die. Conrad Black, National Review, "Richard Nixon’s ‘Silent Majority’ Plan," 5 Nov. 2019 The app is linked to a community’s 911 system so a dispatch call for emergency assistance pops up as a notification on the user’s phone screen. Lisa Maria Garza, orlandosentinel.com, "Seminole joins PulsePoint app that alerts CPR-trained bystanders to cardiac arrest victims," 23 Oct. 2019 People are always passing through: Truck-drivers with their trade, ferries with their tourists, and now journalists like me, writing dispatches on Dover and Brexit. Samuel Earle, The New Republic, "The White Cliffs of Brexit," 22 Oct. 2019 The woman suffered bite wounds on her arm and hand in the incident that happened just before 1 p.m. Friday at Valley York Apartments near Valley Forge Road, according to 911 calls and police dispatch logs. Kaylee Remington, cleveland.com, "Pit bull attacks 85-year-old woman at Parma Heights apartment complex, police say," 10 Aug. 2019 The chaos can be heard in terrified voices on 911 calls and dramatized in dispatch logs. AZCentral.com, "Of small communities across 11 states, more than 500 have a higher wildfire hazard potential than Paradise, Calif.," 23 July 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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Time Traveler for dispatch

Time Traveler

The first known use of dispatch was in 1517

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Statistics for dispatch

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dispatch.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispatched. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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