verb (used with object), dis·bursed, dis·burs·ing.

to pay out (money), especially for expenses; expend.
to distribute or scatter: Our troops were disbursed over a wide area. She disbursed the flowers to the children.

Nearby words

  1. disbosom,
  2. disbound,
  3. disbranch,
  4. disbud,
  5. disburden,
  6. disbursement,
  7. disc,
  8. disc brake,
  9. disc camera,
  10. disc film

Origin of disburse

1520–30; < Middle French desbourser, Old French desborser, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -borser, derivative of borse purse < Late Latin bursa bag

1. lay out. See spend.

Related forms
Can be confuseddisburse disperse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disburse

British Dictionary definitions for disburse



(tr) to pay out
Derived Formsdisbursable, adjectivedisbursement, noundisburser, noun

Word Origin for disburse

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


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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for disburse



1520s, disbourse, from Old French desbourser (13c.) "extract (money) from a purse, spend (money)," from des- (see dis-) + bourse "purse" (see bursar). Related: Disbursed; disbursing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper