capable of being dispensed with or done without; not necessary or essential.
capable of being dispensed or administered: The money is not dispensable at present.
Roman Catholic Church. capable of being permitted or forgiven, as an offense or sin.

Origin of dispensable

1525–35; < Medieval Latin dispēnsābilis, equivalent to Latin dispēns(āre) to distribute by weight (see dispense) + -ābilis -able
Related formsdis·pen·sa·bil·i·ty, dis·pen·sa·ble·ness, nounnon·dis·pens·a·ble, adjectiveun·dis·pen·sa·ble, adjective

Synonyms for dispensable

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

Examples from the Web for dispensable

Contemporary Examples of dispensable

Historical Examples of dispensable

  • Meditation (I speak only for myself) is the least dispensable of the day's doings.

    Mental Efficiency

    Arnold Bennett

  • He believes that what is dispensable by the one, without loss, is dispensable by the other.

  • Please do not take this as an inference that all vocal teachers are bad or are dispensable.

  • We are thus once more reminded of the distinction between essential or unavoidable relational concepts and the dispensable type.


    Edward Sapir

  • It did not seem to me profitable to be killed for the sake of a sentiment which seemed weak and dispensable.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane

British Dictionary definitions for dispensable



not essential; expendable
capable of being distributed
(of a law, vow, etc) able to be relaxed
Derived Formsdispensability or dispensableness, noun
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 dispensable

1530s, "subject to dispensation," from Medieval Latin dispensabilis, from dispensare (see dispense). Meaning "that can be done without" is from 1640s. Related: Dispensability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dispensable in Medicine




Capable of being dispensed, administered, or distributed. Used of a drug.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.