View synonyms for disburse


[ dis-burs ]

verb (used with object)

, dis·bursed, dis·burs·ing.
  1. to pay out (money), especially for expenses; expend.

    Synonyms: lay out

  2. to distribute or scatter:

    Our troops were disbursed over a wide area. She disbursed the flowers to the children.


/ dɪsˈbɜːs /


  1. tr to pay out

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Disburse is sometimes wrongly used where disperse is meant: the police used a water cannon to disperse (not disburse ) the crowd

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Derived Forms

  • disˈburser, noun
  • disˈbursable, adjective
  • disˈbursement, noun

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Other Words From

  • dis·bursa·ble adjective
  • dis·burser noun
  • nondis·bursa·ble adjective
  • nondis·bursed adjective
  • redis·burse verb (used with object) redisbursed redisbursing
  • undis·bursed adjective
  • well-dis·bursed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of disburse1

First recorded in 1520–30; from Middle French desbourser, Old French desborser, equivalent to des- dis- 1 + -borser, derivative of borse purse, from Late Latin bursa “bag”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of disburse1

C16: from Old French desborser, from des- dis- 1+ borser to obtain money, from borse bag, from Late Latin bursa

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Synonym Study

See spend.

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Example Sentences

It has already raised and disbursed several hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to groups it has vetted.

From Vox

Some forward-looking governments and central banks are combining the two, by using digital technology to disburse funds quickly and efficiently, and unlocking more data about the shape of the economic recovery.

An analysis of preparedness grants disbursed by FEMA shows the agency spends far more on counter-terror than natural disasters.

From Fortune

There are new FEMA grant programs for 2020 that will disburse $660 million in funding for what the agency calls “pre-disaster mitigation,” focusing on resiliency against flooding and the relocation of vulnerable communities.

From Fortune

They try to preserve the link between employer and employee by disbursing financial aid through firms rather than through the unemployment system.

Life-saving vaccines for those illnesses and others are—without enough medical workers to disburse them—going unused.

The fund would then disburse the money based on a formula, providing regular payments until the endowment is exhausted.

A caretaker administration could work with European leaders and disburse the next tranche of bailout money.

Additionally, only the government will disburse federal student loans, instead of using banks as middleman.

He ridiculed the notion that King Philip either could or would freely disburse 600,000 crowns on the mere word of Cobham.

Better disburse $25 or $50 in procuring sound expert advice than spend weeks, months and years chasing a mirage or will-o'-wisp.

Dont disburse sterilized charity, then, but keep hard-hearted.

Their maintenance should not be a burden to the nation; he himself would disburse all their expenses from his private purse.

And the question is, which section in this country can you trust to collect and disburse that revenue?


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More About Disburse

What does disburse mean?

Disburse most commonly means to pay out money.

Disburse is typically used in the context of finance and business—especially when the exchange of money is formal.

The noun form of disburse is disbursement, meaning the act of paying out money, or the payment itself.

Disburse can also mean to distribute or scatter, but this sense is much less commonly used. (This sense sounds a lot like and means just about the same thing as disperse.)

Example: The staff is upset because payroll hasn’t disbursed paychecks yet due to a clerical error.

Where does disburse come from?

The first records of the word disburse come from around 1530. It comes from combining des (meaning “apart”) and bourse (meaning “purse”—a bag used to carry money). The same root is used in the more common term reimburse.

The modern financial use of disburse often refers to something quite specific—paying from a particular fund or account, often in the context of a business, charity, scholarship, or other formalized type of payment. To disburse is often to release money from one account to another. It’s typically only used in formal financial contexts, especially an institution making a payment to an individual. You wouldn’t use disburse when paying a friend back after splitting dinner—you’d just say pay or pay back or reimburse. If the thing being given out or provided is not financial or money-related (like food, for example), you’d probably use a word like distribute, not disburse.

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What are some other forms related to disburse?

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What are some words that share a root or word element with disburse

What are some words that often get used in discussing disburse?

What are some words disburse may be commonly confused with?

How is disburse used in real life?

Disburse tends to be used in formal situations, such as scheduled payments or other financial transactions, especially those involving institutions.



Try using disburse!

Is disburse used correctly in the following sentence?

The contract says that they will disburse payments on the first of the month.