verb (used with object), doled, dol·ing.

to distribute in charity.
to give out sparingly or in small quantities (usually followed by out): The last of the water was doled out to the thirsty crew.


    on the dole, receiving payment from the government, as relief: They couldn't afford any luxuries while living on the dole.

Origin of dole

before 1000; Middle English dol, Old English gedāl sharing; cf. deal1

Synonyms for dole Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for doled

Contemporary Examples of doled

Historical Examples of doled

  • The Universal is too great to be measured and doled in that way.

  • They are doled out to you, and you are responsible for them.

  • These they carried round, and doled out a few mouthfuls to each man.

  • Sooner or later a portion of the patrimony will have to be doled out to him.

    A Family of Noblemen

    Mikhal Saltykov

  • It was doled out in a liqueur-glass, and we toasted one another with effusiveness.

British Dictionary definitions for doled




a small portion or share, as of money or food, given to a poor person
the act of giving or distributing such portions
the dole British informal money received from the state while out of work
on the dole British informal receiving such money
archaic fate


(tr usually foll by out) to distribute, esp in small portions

Word Origin for dole

Old English dāl share; related to Old Saxon dēl, Old Norse deild, Gothic dails, Old High German teil; see deal 1




archaic grief or mourning

Word Origin for dole

C13: from Old French, from Late Latin dolus, from Latin dolēre to lament
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 doled



Old English dal "state of being divided; sharing, giving out," shortened from gedal "portion," related to dæl "deal," from Proto-Germanic *dailiz (cf. Old Frisian and Old Saxon del, Middle Dutch deil, Dutch deel, Old High German teil, German Teil). On the dole is 1920s.



"hand out charity," mid-15c., from dole (n.). Related: Doled; doling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper