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

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

Roma were awarded a penalty in the 16th minute following a handball by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, which Aleksandar Kolarov dispatched confidently to give I Giallorossi the lead. SI.com, "Lazio 1-1 Roma: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Pulsating Rome Derby Ends All Square," 1 Sep. 2019 Skip to main content Roger Federer continued his run at the U.S. Open by easily dispatching David Goffin on Sunday in the Round of 16 match. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Roger Federer cruises in Round of 16 match at US Open, dominates David Goffin in three sets," 1 Sep. 2019 The plane was headed for Conroe Airport, where air traffic controllers had dispatched firefighters for a report of an aircraft emergency. Dylan Mcguinness, Houston Chronicle, "Plane crashes into Conroe pond," 31 Aug. 2019 Animal complaint: Hillbrook Drive Officers were dispatched to the Hillbrook Club at 9:44 p.m. Aug. 20 to catch a bat in the building. Joan Rusek, cleveland.com, "Resident buys gift cards for unknown phone scammer: Russell Township Police blotter," 28 Aug. 2019 There were no follow-up calls, as is usually the case with a large animal, and an animal control officer was never dispatched, Terrado said. Jason Green, The Mercury News, "Cows invade upscale San Jose neighborhood," 28 Aug. 2019 He was accompanied by two other agents who had been dispatched in separate vehicles. A.c. Thompson, ProPublica, "“Dirtbag,” “Savages,” “Subhuman”: A Border Agent’s Hateful Career and the Crime That Finally Ended It," 16 Aug. 2019 Hopefully the sweater Timbaland wears here has been burnt and dispatched. Brian Josephs, Billboard, "Every Missy Elliott Music Video, Ranked," 14 Aug. 2019 In Australia, which was dispatching refugees to a legal limbo on remote islands, Mr Quilty’s paintings are a call for compassion. The Economist, "Ben Quilty’s paintings depict violence, loss and “death jackets”," 9 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This corridor gallery is designed as a transitional space, tight enough to make gala guests move with dispatch to the big gallery, which is a dark, cavernous party space installed with the most important, stunning, and over-the-top costumes. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Time for a Riot: Camp Fashion at the Met, and a Real Riot at the Stonewall," 31 Aug. 2019 The shooter ran away as a mother called 911 while hiding in a woman’s bathroom with her 11-year-old daughter, police dispatch reports say. Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com, "Cleveland man charged, teen arrested in deadly shooting at South Brooklyn library branch," 29 July 2019 After defeating Halep with remarkable dispatch 6-2, 6-4, Anisimova found herself in the semifinals against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, currently the world’s No. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Fast-rising Amanda Anisimova highlights San Jose women’s tennis field," 26 July 2019 The more critical material of Mr. Trump is from earlier 2017 dispatches in which Mr. Darroch describes chaos in the administration. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, "Kim Darroch Resigns as U.K. Ambassador to U.S. After Leaked Cables," 10 July 2019 The purpose of this dispatch is give a few illustrations of a city in the middle of becoming, and some brief background on work that’s been done and work that remains. James Fallows, The Atlantic, "The Reinvention of a Downtown: Danville’s Story, Part 2," 17 June 2019 While officers at the scene were attempting to disperse the crowd, they were advised by dispatch that a 16-year-old male had just arrived at Thomas Hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound. al.com, "2 arrested after teen shot at Fairhope Boys & Girls club," 3 June 2019 Shortly after my bite was reported, other calls poured into dispatch. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018 Through a partnership with Google Nigeria, LifeBank incorporated Google maps into its mobile application, mapping out locations connecting doctors, blood banks, hospitals, and dispatch riders. Aisha Salaudeen, CNN, "This company is powering blood donations in Nigeria through Google maps," 23 Aug. 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

17 Sep 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

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readily or continually undergoing change

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