[ dis-burs-muhnt ]
/ dɪsˈbɜrs mənt /
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the act or an instance of disbursing.
money paid out or spent.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of disbursement

From the Middle French word desboursement, dating back to 1590–1600. See disburse, -ment

OTHER WORDS FROM disbursement

non·dis·burse·ment, nounre·dis·burse·ment, noun

Words nearby disbursement

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does disbursement mean?

Disbursement is the act of paying out money, or the payment itself.

Because the meaning of disbursement focuses on money and payment, the word is almost exclusively used in financial and business spheres—especially when the exchange of money is formal.

Example: The disbursement of paychecks was delayed due to a clerical error, causing much grumbling among the staff.

Where does disbursement come from?

Disbursement first appears in English around 1600. Its root word disburse is slightly older, first recorded around the 1530s, and comes from combining des (meaning “apart”) and bourse (meaning “purse”—a bag used to carry money).

The modern financial use of disbursement often means something quite specific—payment from a particular fund or account, often in the context of a business, charity, scholarship, or other formalized type of payment. If the thing being given out or provided is not financial or money-related (like food, for example), you probably want to use distribution, not disbursement.

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What are some other forms of disbursement?

What are some synonyms for disbursement?

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

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

What are some words disbursement may be commonly confused with?

How is disbursement used in real life?

Disbursement has a pretty specific context: paying money to something or someone, usually an institution making a payment to an individual. Even within that context, it tends to be used in formal situations, like when you’re talking about politics, economics, student financial aid, and other such areas. You probably wouldn’t use it to talk about repaying money your friend lent you to buy coffee (for instance), unless you were being humorous.



Try using disbursement!

Which of the following sentences uses disbursement correctly?

A. Scientists are studying the disbursement of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
B. Your disbursement of a new cat into my home is not appreciated.
C. I’ve signed off on the disbursement of funds to your charity.

Example sentences from the Web for disbursement