dis·​pel di-ˈspel How to pronounce dispel (audio)
dispelled; dispelling

transitive verb

: to drive away or cause to vanish by or as if by scattering : dissipate
dispel a rumor
Choose the Right Synonym for dispel

scatter, disperse, dissipate, dispel mean to cause to separate or break up.

scatter implies a force that drives parts or units irregularly in many directions.

the bowling ball scattered the pins

disperse implies a wider separation and a complete breaking up of a mass or group.

police dispersed the crowd

dissipate stresses complete disintegration or dissolution and final disappearance.

the fog was dissipated by the morning sun

dispel stresses a driving away or getting rid of as if by scattering.

an authoritative statement that dispelled all doubt

Example Sentences

This report should dispel any doubts you have about the plan. She made an official statement to dispel any rumors about her retirement. The experience dispelled some of our fears about the process.
Recent Examples on the Web Chops-on-film have also helped to dispel the notion that certain haircuts only suit certain types of hair and particular face shapes. Ellie Pithers, Vogue, 1 Nov. 2022 Hotels don’t always work hard to dispel that notion. Dawn Gilbertson, WSJ, 27 July 2022 But the administration is also keen to dispel the notion that Biden is going to Saudi Arabia hat-in-hand for more oil. Abbas Al Lawati, CNN, 13 July 2022 The Gray Man actor took to his own Instagram to dispel the notion. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 11 July 2022 But the judge ruled that was not enough to dispel the notion that the show was asserting a factual claim. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 27 Jan. 2022 The party has a supermajority that could easily dispel any vetoes from Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear with a majority vote override — as well as ignore the governor's policy wish list. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 9 Nov. 2022 The broad reach of Pritzker’s address did little to dispel discussion of his interest in a bid for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination if President Joe Biden does not seek a second term. Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, 9 Nov. 2022 Biden sought to dispel worries about a potential economic downturn, touting low jobless numbers and high numbers of exports. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dispel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin dispellere, from dis- + pellere to drive, beat — more at felt

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dispel was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near dispel

Cite this Entry

“Dispel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispel. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


dis·​pel dis-ˈpel How to pronounce dispel (audio)
dispelled; dispelling
: to drive away by or as if by scattering : dissipate

More from Merriam-Webster on dispel

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