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 On Thursday, officers were dispatched to a residence on the 13600 block of East 14th Avenue in response to a shooting, police said. James Burky, The Denver Post, "16-year-old charged in connection with Aurora shooting death," 25 Nov. 2019 The team was dispatched to the business at 82 South St. and was able to contain the trichloroethylene spill, Mieth said. Shannon Larson, BostonGlobe.com, "Chemical spill in Hopkinton sends 5 to hospital," 22 Nov. 2019 Tuscaloosa police were dispatched to the 2500 block of Veterans Memorial Parkway on the assault call, said Lt. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Virginia man arrested in sexual assault of young Tuscaloosa girl," 19 Nov. 2019 Police were dispatched around 7:50 a.m., said Natalie Litofsky, a spokeswoman for the department. Cody Boteler, baltimoresun.com, "A ‘suspicious package’ in Catonsville shut down traffic for about two hours. It was a poster.," 11 Sep. 2019 North Aurora police say officers were dispatched Wednesday night on a report of a suicidal man. San Diego Union-Tribune, "West suburban Chicago police fatally shoot suicidal man," 22 Aug. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to a dispatch from Radio Free Asia, on March 31, 2017, it was announced to Communist Party officials that he was being replaced as head of the university, and that he had been detained. The Washington Post, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Missing and in danger in China," 22 Sep. 2019 Egyptians eagerly await his next dispatch, which has occurred nearly every day. BostonGlobe.com, "Most read on BostonGlobe.com," 22 Sep. 2019 Such dispatches, Grimes and Vertefeuille say, provided a thrillingly complete picture of what the K.G.B. was doing. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Are Spies More Trouble Than They’re Worth?," 26 Aug. 2019 Depth of Field is his weekly dispatch about culture's most searing current images. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Depth of Field: The Movie Poster Brexit Deserves," 22 Aug. 2019 While a President may sometimes need to act with dispatch, abuses of executive power prompted Congress to pass the National Emergencies Act of 1976. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Presidential Emergency," 10 Jan. 2019 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

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

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dispatch.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispatchers. Accessed 14 December 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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