[ dis-burs ]
/ dɪsˈbɜrs /

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.

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


/ (dɪsˈbɜːs) /


(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