dispense

verb
dis·​pense | \ di-ˈspen(t)s How to pronounce dispense (audio) \
dispensed; dispensing

Definition of dispense

transitive verb

1a : to divide and share out according to a plan : to deal out in portions dispense food among the needy
b : administer dispense justice
2 : to exempt from a law or release from a vow, oath, or impediment : to give dispensation (see dispensation sense 2a) to : exempt may dispense students from this requirement
3 : to prepare and distribute (medication) dispensing pills to their patients

intransitive verb

archaic : to grant dispensation
dispense with
1 : to set aside : discard dispensing with the usual introduction
2 : to do without could dispense with such a large staff

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Choose the Right Synonym for dispense

distribute, dispense, divide, deal, dole out mean to give out, usually in shares, to each member of a group. distribute implies an apportioning by separation of something into parts, units, or amounts. distributed food to the needy dispense suggests the giving of a carefully weighed or measured portion to each of a group according to due or need. dispensed wisdom to the students divide stresses the separation of a whole into parts and implies that the parts are equal. three charitable groups divided the proceeds deal emphasizes the allotment of something piece by piece. deal out equipment and supplies dole out implies a carefully measured portion of something that is often in short supply. doled out what little food there was

Examples of dispense in a Sentence

The ATM only dispenses $20 bills. a newspaper columnist who dispenses advice to millions of readers each week Pharmacists are certified to dispense medication.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In fact, the first pill, mifepristone, cannot be distributed to or dispensed at pharmacies. SELF, "The Complicated Reality of Buying Abortion Pills Online," 8 Apr. 2019 The lawsuit states that Oklahoma is one of the leading states in prescription painkiller sales per capita, with 128 painkiller prescriptions dispensed per 100 people in 2012. Tim Talley, The Seattle Times, "Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects request to delay opioid trial," 25 Mar. 2019 These fees are assessed months after the prescription is dispensed, pilfering the profit from the pharmacy and diverting it to the pharmacy benefit manager. Scott Knoer, STAT, "What does PBM stand for? In Ohio (and elsewhere), it’s programs bilking millions," 29 June 2018 Sympathy nowadays is dispensed chiefly by the laggards and failures, women for the most part . . . Lidija Haas, The New Yorker, "Memoirs of Disease and Disbelief," 17 June 2014 Also, some states have enacted laws enabling pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "7 Myths About Emergency Contraception You Should Stop Believing," 8 Apr. 2019 What that means exactly is anybody’s guess—neither the Department of Justice nor the Marshals Service is eager to dispense any detail on the program’s inner workings, which seems reasonable enough. Popular Mechanics, "How the Witness Protection Program Decides Where To Send People," 8 Feb. 2019 Campus counselors happily refer students to clinics that dispense hormones on the first visit. Abigail Shrier, WSJ, "When Your Daughter Defies Biology," 6 Jan. 2019 Carvana, a unique online automotive retailer that dispenses its cars through a nine-story vending machine, is open in Tempe on June 20, 2018. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Buy a car like a candy bar: Carvana's vehicle 'vending machine' opens in Phoenix area," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dispense.' 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 dispense

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

History and Etymology for dispense

Middle English, from Medieval Latin & Latin; Medieval Latin dispensare to exempt, from Latin, to distribute, from dis- + pensare to weigh, frequentative of pendere to weigh, pay out — more at spin

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Statistics for dispense

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dispense

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

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More Definitions for dispense

dispense

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dispense

: to give or provide (something)
: to prepare and give (medicine)

dispense

verb
dis·​pense | \ di-ˈspens How to pronounce dispense (audio) \
dispensed; dispensing

Kids Definition of dispense

1 : to give out in small amounts The machine dispenses candy.
2 : to give out as deserved The judge dispensed justice.
3 : to put up or prepare medicine in a form ready for use
dispense with
: to do or get along without Let's dispense with introductions.

dispense

transitive verb
dis·​pense | \ dis-ˈpen(t)s How to pronounce dispense (audio) \
dispensed; dispensing

Medical Definition of dispense

1 : to put up (a prescription or medicine)
2 : to prepare and distribute (medication)

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More from Merriam-Webster on dispense

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dispense

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dispense

Spanish Central: Translation of dispense

Nglish: Translation of dispense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dispense for Arabic Speakers

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