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 That meant senior Cohl Cabral was dispatched back to center where he is expected to be a future NFL draft pick. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU looks to ride momentum, freshmen into Pac-12 opener vs. Colorado," 16 Sep. 2019 Mr Mugabe’s widow and her family, whose bid for power sparked the coup, may finally be dispatched into political oblivion. The Economist, "Even in death, Robert Mugabe worries his successor," 14 Sep. 2019 The Houthis are part of a regional network of militant groups aligned with and backed by Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, and U.S. and Saudi officials suspect that Iran has dispatched technicians to Yemen to train the Houthis. Ben Hubbard, SFChronicle.com, "Drone strike hits two major Saudi oil installations; U.S. blames Iran," 14 Sep. 2019 American and Saudi officials suspect that Iran has dispatched technicians to Yemen to train the Houthis on drone and missile technology. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike, and U.S. Blames Iran," 14 Sep. 2019 Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in a statement that the government has dispatched Vice President Kembo Mohadi and other senior officials and family members to Singapore to accompany Mugabe’s body home. Washington Post, "Zimbabwe’s Mugabe to lie in state at 2 different stadiums," 10 Sep. 2019 Police dispatched officers to the park after receiving reports of a group of people shooting a video while brandishing guns, prosecutors say. Hannah Dellinger, Houston Chronicle, "Suspected Houston gang member pleads to gun charges from rap video," 9 Sep. 2019 Part of the accord included Mexico dispatching national guard soldiers to its southern border to help intercept the migrants. Josh Wingrove, Fortune, "U.S. Caught, Blocked About 64,000 Migrants at Border in August," 9 Sep. 2019 The Seawolves responded well in their first match Saturday, dispatching Concord 25-8, 25-12, 25-12. Anchorage Daily News, "UAA volleyball team goes from rags to riches in season’s first two matches," 7 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Torri Hamilton, a civil rights attorney in Chicago, said police dispatch recordings would be key to finding out if family members called police and if police were made aware of concerns. Amy Forliti, Twin Cities, "Questions after police fatally shoot man who streamed chase," 9 Sep. 2019 Shortly afterward, a dispatch call notified deputies and Milwaukee Police of a person on foot who was behaving erratically and mentioned being in a freeway crash. William Langhorne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Arrest made in shooting near I-94 off-ramp at Hawley Road," 6 Aug. 2019 According to police officials, dispatch workers alerted Rosenberg Police patrol officers and other nearby law enforcement agencies that three men with masks and guns robbed the Wendy’s Restaurant located at 27943 Southwest Freeway. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Sugar Land traffic stop leads to 3 arrests for alleged armed robbery of Rosenberg Wendy’s," 26 July 2019 Heath called 911, where Scott McCully of the Montgomery County Hospital District’s dispatch helped him. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "‘All we had was hope’: Orioles scout saved by stranger during cardiac arrest, overcame long odds to survive," 29 Aug. 2019 Most of the calls came into a second dispatch line at the police station and were made to or from officers’ cellphones. Dave Altimari, courant.com, "Supreme Court sets October date for Cheshire murderer’s request for new trial in Petit case," 17 Sep. 2019 But over the last 10 years, CAHOOTS staff have invested more time building relationships with police and dispatch workers by being open to receiving feedback as much as giving it. oregonlive, "Portland aims to dispatch better first responders for homelessness calls," 14 Sep. 2019 One police dispatch code starts the grim ritual of a police shooting: 998. AZCentral.com, "Police shootings in Arizona," 10 Sep. 2019 The non-injury blaze was reported around 2:30 a.m. at a commercial building on Kenamar Drive, just south of Trade Street, according to a San Diego Fire-Rescue dispatch supervisor. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Firefighters extinguish fire at Miramar metal processing plant," 9 Sep. 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

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for dispatch

The first known use of dispatch was in 1517

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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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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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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