dis·​pos·​i·​tive di-ˈspä-zə-tiv How to pronounce dispositive (audio)
: directed toward or effecting disposition (as of a case)
dispositive evidence

Examples of dispositive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But under California law blood tests were not dispositive, and the case went to trial, where Chaplin was badly outlawyered. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 The Fed should play a large role, but not a dispositive one, given the many stakeholders who should determine national policy. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Fortune Crypto, 22 Aug. 2023 Although the court’s distinction between groups of purchasers’ access to information is unlikely to survive appeal as meaningful for Howey test purposes, other purchaser differences might one day be dispositive. Peter Fox, Fortune, 10 Aug. 2023 And, if elections were decided by what smart conversations in The New Yorker, or duelling opinion editorials in the Washington Post and the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, said, then your point would be decisive, dispositive. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 21 June 2023 But the evidence is not dispositive either way. Eric Alterman, The New Republic, 21 Feb. 2023 Harrington, who just took over the case this month, had recently asked the court to extend the deadline for conducting depositions and filing dispositive motions even though the original deadlines had passed months earlier this year and an extended deadline lapsed two weeks ago. Daniel Bice, Journal Sentinel, 19 Aug. 2022 None of this is dispositive. Rich Lowry, National Review, 25 May 2021 So the coming months will be dispositive. Daniel Engber, The Atlantic, 22 Mar. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dispositive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1618, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dispositive was circa 1618

Dictionary Entries Near dispositive

Cite this Entry

“Dispositive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispositive. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition


dis·​pos·​i·​tive dis-ˈpä-zə-tiv How to pronounce dispositive (audio)
: directed toward or effecting a disposition (as of a case)
an endless variety of dispositive…pretrial motionsRobert Shaw-Meadow
: relating to a disposition of property
dispositive words in a will
: providing a final resolution (as of an issue) : having control over an outcome
dispositive of the question

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