or des·patch


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Archaic. to hasten; be quick.



    mentioned in dispatches, British. honored by being named in official military reports for special bravery or acts of service.

Origin of dispatch

1510–20; < Italian dispacciare to hasten, speed, or < Spanish despachar both ultimately < Old French despeechier to unshackle, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -peechier < Late Latin -pedicāre to shackle; see impeach
Related formsout·dis·patch, verb (used with object)pre·dis·patch, noun, verb (used with object)re·dis·patch, verb (used with object)self-dis·patch, nounun·dis·patched, adjectiveun·dis·patch·ing, adjective

Synonyms for dispatch

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

Examples from the Web for dispatch

Contemporary Examples of dispatch

Historical Examples of dispatch

  • This dispatch was sent in triplicate, by different messengers.

  • I was just sending a courier to his command with a dispatch.

    Robert Toombs

    Pleasant A. Stovall

  • Myself and Will Rackaway, who came to help me and old Cassy, remained in charge of the house to dispatch the furniture.

    The Haunted Homestead

    E. D. E. N. Southworth

  • This reply he showed to Seward, then handed it 330to Stanton and ordered him to sign and dispatch it at once.

  • Experience has taught me that there is nothing like dispatch in these matters.

British Dictionary definitions for dispatch



verb (tr)

to send off promptly, as to a destination or to perform a task
to discharge or complete (a task, duty, etc) promptly
informal to eat up quickly
to murder or execute


the act of sending off a letter, messenger, etc
prompt action or speed (often in the phrase with dispatch)
an official communication or report, sent in haste
journalism a report sent to a newspaper, etc, by a correspondent
murder or execution
Derived Formsdispatcher, noun

Word Origin for dispatch

C16: from Italian dispacciare, from Provençal despachar, from Old French despeechier to set free, from des- dis- 1 + -peechier, ultimately from Latin pedica a fetter
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 dispatch

1510s, "to send off in a hurry," from a word in Spanish (despachar "expedite, hasten") or Italian (dispacciare "to dispatch"). For first element, see dis-. The exact source of the second element has been proposed as Vulgar Latin *pactare "to fasten, fix" or *pactiare, or as Latin -pedicare "to entrap" (from Latin pedica "shackle;" see impeach); and the Spanish and Italian words seem to be related to (perhaps opposites of) Old Provençal empachar "impede." See OED for full discussion. Meaning "to get rid of by killing" is attested from 1520s. Related: Dispatched; dispatching. As a noun, from 1540s, originally "dismissal;" sense of "a message sent speedily" is first attested 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper