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

Both the Magnfica S and Incanto grind, compress, brew, and dispense espresso with the tap of a button. Jeffrey Van Camp, WIRED, "Are Super Automatic Espresso Machines Worth It?," 21 July 2019 It’s been used for everything from identifying jaywalkers to dispensing toilet paper. Jane Li, Quartz, "China’s obsession with looking good is filtering into facial-recognition payments," 3 July 2019 The goal is faster boarding and departure, dispensing with those lap-scrutinizing walk-throughs flight attendants must perform. Justin Bachman / Bloomberg, Time, "The Next Generation of Airbus Aircraft Will Track Your Bathroom Visits," 12 Sep. 2019 Because the two icons are not merely dispensing advice. Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Jeff Probst explains how Survivor: Island of the Idols works," 10 Sep. 2019 The robotic arm then picks up the corresponding button and dispenses it to the person who just voted. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "Pronto Pups vs. Corn Dogs? Tell it to the robot," 19 Aug. 2019 Now the company is also selling plenty that dispense with the leather entirely. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "Dr. Martens has a thriving business in vegan boots," 13 Aug. 2019 Sidestepping the temptations of broad farce or melodrama, Wang stakes out a zone of low-key observational realism, dispensing her sympathies and teasing out emotional subtleties with a graceful, assured hand. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Delightful ‘The Farewell,’ starring Awkwafina, shows us a family divided," 18 July 2019 It can't be called great music, but its lovely late-romantic harmonies were lovingly dispensed by Novacek, Rose, DerHovsepian and Taylor. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Enterprising programs open another season for Fort Worth's Mimir Chamber Music Festival," 6 July 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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Learn More about dispense

Statistics for dispense

Last Updated

29 Sep 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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