- to deal out; distribute: to dispense wisdom.
- to administer: to dispense the law without bias.
- Pharmacology. to make up and distribute (medicine), especially on prescription.
- Roman Catholic Church. to grant dispensation.
- to grant dispensation.
- Obsolete. expenditure.
- dispense with,
- to do without; forgo: to dispense with preliminaries.
- to do away with; rid of.
- to grant exemption from a law or promise.
Origin of dispense
SynonymsSee more synonyms for dispense on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dispense
But he was always uncommonly gracious, a truly gentle man, willing to dispense wisdom and perspective when asked.Ed Brooke: The Senate's Civil Rights Pioneer and Prophet of a Post-Racial America
January 4, 2015
The question is not whether they are right or wrong but why they feel an impulse to dispense their advice in the first place.America’s Meddlers Are Our Worst Enemies
October 3, 2014
Instead of the eight flavors a typical fountain could dispense, they might want 15 or 20.Font of Invention
September 18, 2014
Let's hope they dispense with the slow courtship and start to dance.How Iran and America Can Beat ISIS Together
Ben Van Heuvelen
June 21, 2014
As nice as it would have been to dispense with the fairy tale tropes altogether, they are necessary here.Disney’s Sublimely Subversive ‘Frozen’ Isn’t Your Typical Princess Movie
November 29, 2013
"Unless it should be his gracious pleasure to dispense with obedience," replied Artaphernes.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
It was that unless I could dress more in the mode he could dispense with my attendance.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
But on the strength of this faith I would not dispense with the fire.
I am honoured with your good opinion, and I can dispense with Mr Haredale's.Barnaby Rudge
They found they could dispense with Mr. Carey's further services.The Railroad Question
- (tr) to give out or issue in portions
- (tr) to prepare and distribute (medicine), esp on prescription
- (tr) to administer (the law, etc)
- (intr foll by with) to do away (with) or manage (without)
- to grant a dispensation to (someone) from (some obligation of church law)
- to exempt or excuse from a rule or obligation
Word Origin and History for dispense
early 14c., from Old French dispenser "give out" (13c.), from Latin dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)," frequentative of dispendere "pay out," from dis- "out" (see dis-) + pendere "to pay, weigh" (see pendant).
In Medieval Latin, dispendere was used in the ecclesiastical sense of "grant license to do what is forbidden or omit what is required" (a power of popes, bishops, etc.), and thus acquired a sense of "grant remission from punishment or exemption from law," hence "to do away with" (1570s), "do without" (c.1600). Older sense is preserved in dispensary. Related: Dispensed; dispensing.
- To prepare and give out medicines.