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dispensation

[dis-puhn-sey-shuhn, -pen-]
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noun
  1. an act or instance of dispensing; distribution.
  2. something that is distributed or given out.
  3. a certain order, system, or arrangement; administration or management.
  4. Theology.
    1. the divine ordering of the affairs of the world.
    2. an appointment, arrangement, or favor, as by God.
    3. a divinely appointed order or age: the old Mosaic, or Jewish, dispensation; the new gospel, or Christian, dispensation.
  5. a dispensing with, doing away with, or doing without something.
  6. Roman Catholic Church.
    1. a relaxation of law in a particular case granted by a competent superior or the superior's delegate in laws that the superior has the power to make and enforce: a dispensation regarding the Lenten fast.
    2. an official document authorizing such a relaxation of law.
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Origin of dispensation

1325–75; Middle English dispensacioun < Medieval Latin dispēnsātiōn- (stem of dispēnsātiō) a pardon, relaxation, Late Latin: order, system, divine grace, Latin: distribution, equivalent to dispēnsāt(us) (past participle of dispēnsāre to dispense; see -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsdis·pen·sa·tion·al, adjectivedis·pen·sa·to·ri·ly [dih-spen-suh-tawr-uh-lee, -tohr-] /dɪˈspɛn səˌtɔr ə li, -ˌtoʊr-/, adverbnon·dis·pen·sa·tion, nounnon·dis·pen·sa·tion·al, adjective

Synonyms for dispensation

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1. dispersion, meting out, apportioning, dissemination, bestowal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for dispensation

dispensation

noun
  1. the act of distributing or dispensing
  2. something distributed or dispensed
  3. a system or plan of administering or dispensing
  4. mainly RC Church
    1. permission to dispense with an obligation of church law
    2. the document authorizing such permission
  5. any exemption from a rule or obligation
  6. Christianity
    1. the ordering of life and events by God
    2. a divine decree affecting an individual or group
    3. a religious system or code of prescriptions for life and conduct regarded as of divine origin
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Derived Formsdispensational, adjective
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 dispensation

n.

late 14c., from Old French despensacion (12c., Modern French dispensation), or directly from Latin dispensationem (nominative dispensatio) "management, charge," noun of action from past participle stem of dispensare (see dispense). Theological sense is from the use of the word to translate Greek oikonomoia "office, method of administration."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper