dole out

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb dole out differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of dole out are deal, dispense, distribute, and divide. While all these words mean "to give out, usually in shares, to each member of a group," dole out implies a carefully measured portion of something that is often in short supply.

doled out what little food there was

When is deal a more appropriate choice than dole out?

The words deal and dole out are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, deal emphasizes the allotment of something piece by piece.

deal out equipment and supplies

When might dispense be a better fit than dole out?

The words dispense and dole out can be used in similar contexts, 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

Where would distribute be a reasonable alternative to dole out?

While in some cases nearly identical to dole out, 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 dole out?

Although the words divide and dole out have much in common, divide stresses the separation of a whole into parts and implies that the parts are equal.

three charitable groups divided the proceeds

Thesaurus Entries Near dole out

Cite this Entry

“Dole out.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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