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verb (used with object), dis·pelled, dis·pel·ling.
  1. to drive off in various directions; disperse; dissipate: to dispel the dense fog.
  2. to cause to vanish; alleviate: to dispel her fears.
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Origin of dispel

1625–35; < Latin dispellere to drive asunder, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + pellere to drive
Related formsdis·pel·la·ble, adjectivedis·pel·ler, nounun·dis·pel·la·ble, adjectiveun·dis·pelled, adjective

Synonyms for dispel

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1, 2. See scatter.

Antonyms for dispel

1. gather.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dispelling

resolve, dismiss, dissipate, disperse, allay, eliminate, oust, disband, eject, expel, disintegrate, rout, distribute, scramble, repel, deploy, cancel, crumble, scatter, banish

Examples from the Web for dispelling

Contemporary Examples of dispelling

Historical Examples of dispelling

  • The dispelling of the charm was just the natural physical action of the herb.


    Benjamin Taylor

  • Dispelling a shadow of irritation that has crossed her face.


    Jack London

  • He talked on convincingly, dispelling all hesitation by words and gesture.

  • The sunshine brightened instead of dispelling these effects.

    Northern Travel

    Bayard Taylor

  • He had only given himself fits of despondency for the pleasure of dispelling them.

British Dictionary definitions for dispelling


verb -pels, -pelling or -pelled
  1. (tr) to disperse or drive away
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Derived Formsdispeller, noun

Word Origin for dispel

C17: from Latin dispellere, from dis- 1 + pellere to drive
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 dispelling



c.1400, dispelen, from Latin dispellere "drive apart," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + pellere "to drive, push" (see pulse (n.1)). Since the meaning is "to drive away in different directions" it should not have as an object a single, indivisible thing (you can dispel suspicion, but not an accusation). Related: Dispelled; dispelling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper