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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dispatch


dispatcher \ di-​ˈspa-​chər How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dispatch

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The body, located in the 35000 block of Eklutna Lake Road, was reported to dispatch around 4 p.m. Saturday, police said in an alert. Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage police investigate circumstances surrounding death of person found near Eklutna Lake Road," 2 May 2021 The composition of the park board changed at the April 6 election, with new board members sworn in Wednesday voting to dispatch the district’s law firm, Tristan & Cervantes, and hire Del Galdo Law Group. Mike Nolan, chicagotribune.com, "New Chicago Heights Park Board attempts to undo severance deal for superintendent," 2 May 2021 Olson ran away and the officer did not chase him, but radioed in to dispatch that there appeared to be no signs of vandalism. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Brother of police shooting victim says video shows excessive force," 30 Apr. 2021 According to dispatch audio from that day, first responders can be heard saying a man was hit and had gunshot wounds to the back. Hollie Silverman And Christina Maxouris, CNN, "North Carolina sheriff says he wants footage of Andrew Brown Jr. police shooting made public and may file motion Monday," 25 Apr. 2021 Self-driving tests are now operating in several states, and Nuro, a Silicon Valley start-up, has received permission in California to dispatch self-driving delivery vehicles and this month began to test autonomous delivery for pizza in Houston. Daniel Yergin, WSJ, "How Electric, Self-Driving Cars and Ride-Hailing Will Transform the Car Industry," 23 Apr. 2021 In June 2020, the city began allowing 911 operators to dispatch a Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) consisting of a mental health clinician and a paramedic. Time, "To Protect the Next George Floyd, We Must Remove the Threat of Police Violence from Everyday Life," 20 Apr. 2021 State law requires municipal clerks to dispatch what are known as special voting deputies to nursing homes to give residents an opportunity to vote. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Elections Commission to study voting in nursing homes," 5 Apr. 2021 Gowan said foreign diplomats also hope the Biden administration will dispatch Secretary of State Antony Blinken or other high-level officials to some of the UN Security Council meetings when the U.S. holds the council presidency. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "'After Trump, the UN needs some extra love': Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed as UN ambassador," 23 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In dispatch audio from that day, first responders can be heard saying a man had gunshot wounds to the back. Natasha Chen, CNN, "Andrew Brown Jr.'s aunt says body camera footage of his death was not shown to all of his family members," 2 May 2021 Haynes said the family is also requesting the police release the dispatch audio with the sheriff's deputy leading up to the shooting, saying there was a failure to communicate that Brown was not armed. CBS News, "Black man shot 10 times by Virginia sheriff's deputy who had given him a ride an hour earlier, family says," 26 Apr. 2021 The account is supported by dispatch audio released by the sheriff's office. NBC News, "Virginia deputy gave Black man a ride home, then shot him after 911 call," 24 Apr. 2021 Shot-spotters in the neighborhood registered 20 gunshots, according to dispatch records. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Man killed, woman injured in shooting in Cleveland’s Union-Miles neighborhood," 23 Apr. 2021 No one else was injured, according to Columbus police dispatch. Mark Ferenchik, USA TODAY, "Police officer shot and killed teenager in Columbus, Ohio, family member says," 21 Apr. 2021 Police had 21 units on the scene where the incident occurred, 911 dispatch records show, according to the station. David Aaro, Fox News, "Louisiana shooting leaves at least 5 hospitalized: report," 19 Apr. 2021 Calls began coming into the police from several people at the warehouse who described a barrage of gunfire, the police dispatch turning into an account of growing horror. New York Times, "In a Spasm of Violence, Indianapolis Faces the Country’s Latest Mass Shooting," 16 Apr. 2021 As the four-minute call continued, police and paramedics made their way to Aromatherapy Spa, arriving at 6 p.m., according to police dispatch records. Washington Post, "A drive to end temptations: Georgia man’s murderous rampage takes 8 lives," 18 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dispatch

Time Traveler for dispatch

Time Traveler

The first known use of dispatch was in 1517

See more words from the same year

Statistics for dispatch

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dispatch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispatch. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!