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

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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 As one of nine vaccine distribution hubs across the state overseeing storage and dispensation of COVID-19 vaccines, Pueblo County is playing a vital role. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Vaccine freezer, Christmas cheer, Iditarod trail switch: News from around our 50 states," 24 Dec. 2020 The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses that Malooly instituted in March remains in place in the Diocese of Wilmington. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Governors vaccinated, Christmas precautions, medical worker shortage: News from around our 50 states," 23 Dec. 2020 Under this new corporate dispensation, Americans were understood solely as consumers, not citizens (let alone workers, small-business owners, or community members). Zephyr Teachout, The New Republic, "A Blueprint for a Trust-Busting Biden Presidency," 18 Dec. 2020 Palomar Health recently requested and received dispensation for the 12-bed intensive care and intermediate care unit at its hospital in Poway. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego County posts new COVID-19 case record; ICU staff wearing thin," 11 Dec. 2020 Catherine also stands by the fact that her nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor, has ties to the Pope, thus making Henry’s dispensation for an annulment a losing battle. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "The Spanish Princess finale recap: Coups, Catherine's farewell, and other historical observations," 30 Nov. 2020 To some ears, Doblin’s rhetoric about ending genocide and enlightening humanity through widespread use harkens back to Leary, the Harvard professor whose promiscuous dispensation of LSD led to his firing in 1963. Ben Harris, sun-sentinel.com, "Jewish psychedelics advocate working to turn club drug into legal medicine," 19 Nov. 2020 Now, as the administration turns over, this new dispensation is being formalized. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "The Weekly Planet: What Donald Trump Taught the Electric-Car Industry," 17 Nov. 2020 As the coronavirus explodes across Michigan to record numbers, the Catholic Archbishop of Detroit is extending the dispensation from Mass for worshippers until February. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Archbishop extends Mass dispensation for Catholics due to COVID," 14 Nov. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for dispensation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dispensation

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dispensation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispensation. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for dispensation


How to pronounce dispensation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dispensation

: permission to break a law or an official promise you have made : release from a rule, vow, or oath
: an act of providing something to people


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

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