dis·​pos·​i·​tive | \ di-ˈspä-zə-tiv How to pronounce dispositive (audio) \

Definition of dispositive

: directed toward or effecting disposition (as of a case) dispositive evidence

Examples of dispositive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Not that the votes of Ocasio-Cortez types figure to be dispositive in an election in which the swing votes everyone is looking to harvest are the ones in the white working class in the upper Midwest. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Sorry, AOC — Democrats Don’t Want Democratic Socialism," 16 Apr. 2020 At the very least, states using such machines should pass laws requiring that the human-readable names printed on the ballot, and not a bar code readable only by machine, should be dispositive in the event of a recount. Richard L. Hasen, WSJ, "How to Prevent the Next Election Meltdown," 7 Feb. 2020 But such performances bespeak today’s music industry; where safety-in-retrospect carries dispositive weight. oregonlive, "Live music in Portland: 25 January concerts you won’t want to miss," 30 Dec. 2019 Without conceding that these claims are true, the Speaker should bend every effort to persuade the American public that such objections are not dispositive. Philip Bobbitt, Time, "How Speaker Nancy Pelosi Could Still Save Impeachment," 16 Dec. 2019 Fitting the timeframe here shouldn't be considered dispositive. The Crossover Staff, SI.com, "SI's NBA All-Decade Team: Biggest Snubs," 18 Sep. 2019 Get our daily newsletter First, a caveat: polls this early are far from dispositive. J.e.f. | Washington, The Economist, "How the Democratic field is narrowing," 3 Sep. 2019 Subscribe That may seem like an antiquated approach in an age of ever-improving DNA technology; some 350 men and women have now been freed thanks to its dispositive power. Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The Atlantic, "Can You Prove Your Innocence Without DNA?," 6 Mar. 2018 Delayed disclosure of abuse is common so this is not dispositive. WSJ, "‘This Case Is Even Weaker Than That’," 1 Oct. 2018

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

circa 1618, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for dispositive

Time Traveler

The first known use of dispositive was circa 1618

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Last Updated

7 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dispositive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispositive. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for dispositive


dis·​pos·​i·​tive | \ dis-ˈpä-zə-tiv How to pronounce dispositive (audio) \

Legal Definition of dispositive

1 : directed toward or effecting a disposition (as of a case) an endless variety of dispositive…pretrial motions— Robert Shaw-Meadow
2 : relating to a disposition of property dispositive words in a will
3 : providing a final resolution (as of an issue) : having control over an outcome dispositive of the question

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