dis·​pen·​sa·​tion | \ ˌdi-spən-ˈsā-shən How to pronounce dispensation (audio) , -ˌspen- \

Definition of dispensation

1a : a general state or ordering of things specifically : a system of revealed (see reveal entry 1 sense 1) commands and promises regulating human affairs a privilege maintained under the new dispensation
b : a particular arrangement or provision especially of providence or nature involving special dispensation by the Church
2a : an exemption from a law or from an impediment, vow, or oath may be granted a dispensation from the rule
b : a formal authorization requested a dispensation to form another lodge
3a : the act of dispensing the dispensation of medication
b : something dispensed or distributed … one of the most remarkable cultural dispensations in the country's history, the paperback book.— T. E. Cooney

Other Words from dispensation

dispensational \ ˌdi-​spən-​ˈsā-​shnəl How to pronounce dispensation (audio) , -​ˌspen-​ , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of dispensation in a Sentence

The priest asked for dispensation from his vows. The state gave the town a special dispensation, allowing it to ignore the law in this case.
Recent Examples on the Web The war started as the season of lent started, Kushnir said, though the church gives a dispensation for lent, a time of fasting, during times of war. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, 8 Apr. 2022 Cast and crew resumed work in July after British authorities gave the production special dispensation to skip a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Kim Masters, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Mar. 2022 Guests at Valentino had to present a special dispensation card to simply get in to the area. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 7 Mar. 2022 In a different dispensation, its Best Picture nomination would have inspired me to go out and see it at some second-run theater, or at the multiplex if the nomination earned it some extra screenings. Ross Douthat, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Last month, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced that all city employees would be required to have their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 15 and complete the cycle by Feb. 15, unless granted a dispensation for medical or religious reasons. Arielle Mitropoulos, ABC News, 28 Jan. 2022 In the book’s careful balance, the old dispensation’s ruin is offset by what these characters have gained—and yet an air of romantic nostalgia, of mourning, prevails. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 13 Jan. 2022 Pequeneza was given special dispensation from the distancing regulations, and the up close and personal footage of these rare cetaceans, often mothers with calves, elicits awe and sympathy. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Feb. 2022 America began with a vision of itself as a thing unprecedented—a new dispensation, with a Manifest Destiny. Lance Morrow, WSJ, 17 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of dispensation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dispensation

see dispense

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The first known use of dispensation was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dispensation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispensation. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for dispensation


dis·​pen·​sa·​tion | \ ˌdis-pən-ˈsā-shən, -ˌpen- How to pronounce dispensation (audio) \

Medical Definition of dispensation

: the act of dispensing the dispensation of medicines

More from Merriam-Webster on dispensation

Nglish: Translation of dispensation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dispensation


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