dis·​patch | \ di-ˈspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \
dispatched; dispatching; dispatches

Essential Meaning of dispatch

1 : to send (someone or something) quickly to a particular place for a particular purpose Rescue workers were immediately dispatched to the area. The hotel dispatched a limo to pick us up from the airport. (formal) The message was dispatched to the general.
2 : to defeat (a person or team) in a game, contest, etc. She easily dispatched [=(more commonly) beat] her opponent.
3 old-fashioned : to kill (a person or animal) quickly He dispatched the guard with one bullet.

Full Definition of dispatch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to send off or away with promptness or speed dispatch a letter dispatch an ambulance to the scene especially : to send off on official business dispatch a messenger
2a : to kill with quick efficiency dispatched the deer with one shot
b obsolete : deprive
3 : to dispose of (something, such as a task) rapidly or efficiently anxious to dispatch the matter … household business could not be dispatched hastily by Mrs. Tulliver.— George Eliot
4 : defeat sense 1 easily dispatching each team they played

intransitive verb

archaic : to make haste : hurry


dis·​patch | \ di-ˈspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) , ˈdi-ˌspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \

Definition of dispatch (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a message sent with speed especially : an important official message sent by a diplomatic, military, or naval officer sent a dispatch to headquarters
b : a news item filed (see file entry 4 sense 2b) by a correspondent dispatches from the war zone
2 : the act of dispatching: such as
a obsolete : dismissal
b : the act of killing
c(1) : prompt settlement (as of an item of business) Tom Pinch and his sister having to part, for the dispatch of the morning's business …, had no opportunity of discussing the subject at that time.— Charles Dickens
(2) : quick riddance
d : a sending off : shipment the immediate dispatch of supplies to the front
3 : promptness and efficiency in performance or transmission done with dispatch

Other Words from dispatch


dispatcher \ di-​ˈspa-​chər How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dispatch

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for dispatch


kill, slay, murder, assassinate, dispatch, execute mean to deprive of life. kill merely states the fact of death caused by an agency in any manner. killed in an accident frost killed the plants slay is a chiefly literary term implying deliberateness and violence but not necessarily motive. slew thousands of the Philistines murder specifically implies stealth and motive and premeditation and therefore full moral responsibility. convicted of murdering a rival assassinate applies to deliberate killing openly or secretly often for political motives. terrorists assassinated the Senator dispatch stresses quickness and directness in putting to death. dispatched the sentry with one bullet execute stresses putting to death as a legal penalty. executed by lethal gas


haste, hurry, speed, expedition, dispatch mean quickness in movement or action. haste applies to personal action and implies urgency and precipitancy and often rashness. marry in haste hurry often has a strong suggestion of agitated bustle or confusion. in the hurry of departure she forgot her toothbrush speed suggests swift efficiency in movement or action. exercises to increase your reading speed expedition and dispatch both imply speed and efficiency in handling affairs but expedition stresses ease or efficiency of performance and dispatch stresses promptness in concluding matters. the case came to trial with expedition paid bills with dispatch

Examples of dispatch in a Sentence

Verb Rescue workers were immediately dispatched to the area. The hotel dispatched a limo to pick us up from the airport. He dispatched the guard with one bullet. Noun The general sent a dispatch to headquarters. He requested the immediate dispatch of supplies. The reporter sent many dispatches from the war zone.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Chasing and tripping littermates and then giving them a good chew on the spine or throat are rehearsals of the skills needed to catch prey animals and dispatch them by severing their spinal cord or choking them. Caitlin O'connell, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2021 The worst of them could still easily dispatch a casual player on a basement table, but the overall standard of play is firmly below the world’s professional leagues and international competitions. New York Times, 25 Jan. 2021 Biden will instead dispatch administration officials to meetings at the Swiss ski resort, according to two people familiar with the matter. BostonGlobe.com, 18 Nov. 2021 The city would also dispatch a requirement to employ a minimum number of officers and control of the department would be split between the city council and the mayor. Eric Bradner, Gregory Krieg And Dan Merica, CNN, 2 Nov. 2021 Shippers with full warehouses won’t dispatch drivers to collect additional containers. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Oct. 2021 Shippers with full warehouses won’t dispatch drivers to collect additional containers. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 The standard approach is to dispatch a fleet of dedicated vehicles – called railhead treatment trains (RHTTs) – to clean and maintain the rails. Laurie Winkless, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 When people call 911 for an emergency, telecommunicators on the line are tasked with processing the caller's information and deciding who to dispatch to the scene. Eric Levenson, CNN, 26 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Buffalo Grove Village Board approved a plan recently to move to a new 911 emergency dispatch system. Elizabeth Owens-schiele, chicagotribune.com, 8 Nov. 2021 Switching to a moving block system requires maintaining constant communication between trains and a central dispatch system, however. Christopher Mims, WSJ, 9 Oct. 2021 The lengthy hold time is far above the national standard of 15 to 20 seconds for 911 calls and the latest example of serious problems plaguing the city’s emergency dispatch system. oregonlive, 9 Sep. 2021 The new recording from the Park Police dispatch system does not indicate any communication difficulties that night. Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2021 In response to queries from The Times, city officials acknowledged this week that foreign hackers seized control of the police dispatch system and other data for more than a week in 2018. Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2021 When protests over the death of George Floyd turned into civil unrest in downtown Birmingham last summer, the disturbance moved dangerously close to the city’s emergency response dispatch system. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 3 Mar. 2021 Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said the city’s fire department is equipped to run the program because the department already has a 911 dispatch system and responds to calls 24 hours a day. Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Mar. 2021 The technology that runs the 911 emergency dispatch system is outdated. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 21 Oct. 2020

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


1517, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dispatch

Verb and Noun

Spanish despachar or Italian dispacciare, from Occitan despachar to get rid of, from Middle French despechier to set free, from Old French, from des- dis- + -pechier (as in enpechier to ensnare) — more at impeach

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Time Traveler for dispatch

Time Traveler

The first known use of dispatch was in 1517

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Dictionary Entries Near dispatch



dispatch boat

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Statistics for dispatch

Last Updated

7 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dispatch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dispatch. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for dispatch


dis·​patch | \ di-ˈspach How to pronounce dispatch (audio) \
dispatched; dispatching

Kids Definition of dispatch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to send away quickly to a certain place or for a certain reason The general dispatched a messenger.
2 : to get done quickly She dispatched one job and moved to the next.
3 : kill entry 1 sense 1 dispatch a sick animal

Other Words from dispatch

dispatcher noun



Kids Definition of dispatch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : message sense 1 Send a dispatch to headquarters.
2 : a news story sent in to a newspaper
3 : speed entry 1 sense 1 You must act with dispatch.

More from Merriam-Webster on dispatch

Nglish: Translation of dispatch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dispatch for Arabic Speakers


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