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

So what comments might have been dispensed in the current instance? Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Review: Animation Better Than Life," 13 Dec. 2018 Champagne was quickly dispensed on silver trays as Robert De Niro, Arthur and Ansel Elgort, and more were ushered into a red velvet room to sit for the screening, where the magic was conjured again. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Ian Schrager Gives Advice on What Every Party Needs at the Studio 54 Documentary Premiere," 5 Oct. 2018 Many of the medicines Dr. Goodsir and his colleagues would have dispensed to sick or injured explorers also contained lead, not to mention arsenic and a few other things the FDA would balk at today. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Strands of hair shed light on doomed 19th-century Arctic expedition," 30 Sep. 2018 Carlisle is dispensed with, his dignity barely intact. Tom Fitzgerald And Lorenzo Marquez, Town & Country, "The 10 Best Downton Abbey Episodes," 12 Sep. 2018 All throughout the 50th state, plate lunches are dispensed from carts, food trucks and cafes, and that’s just how L&L started, with a small diner-style spot called L&L Drive Inn in Honolulu’s Liliha neighborhood in 1976. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "Where to try Hawaiian plate lunches on the mainland," 28 June 2018 Pharmacists have long dispensed more than just medications, offering advice, guidance and support to customers. Lisa Schencker, chicagotribune.com, "Some suburban Jewel-Osco pharmacies are offering patients genetic testing," 6 June 2018 Violence was not regularly dispensed, but every internee AP spoke to saw at least one incident of rough treatment or beatings. Washington Post, "China’s mass indoctrination camps evoke Cultural Revolution," 17 May 2018 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

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

26 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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