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

Each was convinced their child was sick, poisoned by polio drops dispensed in the latest government vaccination campaign. The Economist, "Pakistan is trying new tactics to eliminate polio," 5 July 2019 Automatic pet feeders have come a long way from the old models that dispense kibble via gravity, although those are still popular. Nicole Forsyth, The Mercury News, "Dollars and Pets: Automatic food dishes go high tech," 27 June 2019 The New York Times reports that minibars at the Hard Rock dispense beverages from large bottles of liquor that hang upside-down in a cabinet. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "Hard Rock Hotel in Dominican Republic, Where 2 Americans Died, to Remove Minibar Liquor Dispensers," 24 June 2019 Optician: After receiving a prescription from optometrists or ophthalmologists, an optician dispenses lenses, frames and other optical devices. Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Protect your eyes for life with healthy diet, sun shielding," 24 June 2019 The Yankees were fortunate to have two head coaches guiding and instructing the players with Mike Ruthemeyer and Anthony Polazzi sharing the responsibilities and dispensing their knowledge of the game with the young ball players. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Lighthouse Point Yankees outslugs Red Sox to take coach pitch division crown," 20 June 2019 That’s the state agency that dispenses tax dollars to Oregon’s universities and community colleges. oregonlive.com, "PSU considers cutting tuition increase from 11% to 4.9%," 13 June 2019 His features moved with a kind of terse, unhurried poise, dispensing tonal changes and dramatic developments at a steady drip. Max Nelson, Harper's magazine, "The All-Seeing Eye," 10 June 2019 In comparison, Pelebox dispenses medicines within just 36 seconds. Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Quartz Africa, "A battle with TB inspired his smart medicine dispenser, now it’s won Africa’s top engineering prize," 5 June 2019

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

7 Jul 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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