Synonym Chooser

How does the verb distribute differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of distribute are deal, dispense, divide, and dole out. While all these words 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

When can deal be used instead of distribute?

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

deal out equipment and supplies

In what contexts can dispense take the place of distribute?

The synonyms dispense and distribute are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When is divide a more appropriate choice than distribute?

In some situations, the words divide and distribute are roughly equivalent. However, divide stresses the separation of a whole into parts and implies that the parts are equal.

three charitable groups divided the proceeds

When could dole out be used to replace distribute?

While in some cases nearly identical to distribute, dole out implies a carefully measured portion of something that is often in short supply.

doled out what little food there was

Thesaurus Entries Near distribute

Cite this Entry

“Distribute.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/distribute. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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