1. Distribute,dispense apply to giving out something. Distribute implies apportioned, individualized giving, especially of something that is definite or limited in amount or number: The prizes were distributed among ten winners. Dispense formerly implied indiscriminate, general, and liberal giving, especially of something that was more or less indefinite or unmeasured in amount: to dispense largess. It now applies chiefly to giving according to need or deserts, from an organized and official source: to dispense medicines and food to the victims.