Synonym Chooser

How does the verb dispense differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of dispense are deal, distribute, divide, and dole out. While all these words mean "to give out, usually in shares, to each member of a group," 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

Where would deal be a reasonable alternative to dispense?

While the synonyms deal and dispense are close in meaning, deal emphasizes the allotment of something piece by piece.

deal out equipment and supplies

When can distribute be used instead of dispense?

In some situations, the words distribute and dispense are roughly equivalent. However, distribute implies an apportioning by separation of something into parts, units, or amounts.

distributed food to the needy

When would divide be a good substitute for dispense?

The words divide and dispense can be used in similar contexts, but divide stresses the separation of a whole into parts and implies that the parts are equal.

three charitable groups divided the proceeds

When is dole out a more appropriate choice than dispense?

The words dole out and dispense are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dole out implies a carefully measured portion of something that is often in short supply.

doled out what little food there was

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Cite this Entry

“Dispense.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dispense. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

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