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See also: dispensé




From Old French dispenser, from Latin dispensare (to weight out, pay out, distribute, regulate, manage, control, dispense), frequentative of dispendere (to weight out), from dis- (apart) + pendere (to weigh).



dispense (third-person singular simple present dispenses, present participle dispensing, simple past and past participle dispensed)

  1. To issue, distribute, or put out.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      He is delighted to dispense a share of it to all the company.
    • 1955, William Golding, The Inheritors, Faber and Faber 2005, p.40:
      The smoky spray seemed to trap whatever light there was and to dispense it subtly.
  2. To apply, as laws to particular cases; to administer; to execute; to manage; to direct.
    to dispense justice
    • Dryden
      While you dispense the laws, and guide the state.
  3. To supply or make up a medicine or prescription.
    The pharmacist dispensed my tablets.
    An optician can dispense spectacles.
  4. To eliminate or do without; used intransitively with with.
    I wish he would dispense with the pleasantries and get to the point.
  5. (obsolete) To give a dispensation to (someone); to excuse.
    • , II.34:
      After his victories, he often gave them the reines to all licenciousnesse, for a while dispencing them from all rules of military discipline [].
    • Macaulay
      It was resolved that all members of the House who held commissions, should be dispensed from parliamentary attendance.
    • Johnson
      He appeared to think himself born to be supported by others, and dispensed from all necessity of providing for himself.
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) To compensate; to make up; to make amends.
    • Spenser
      One loving hour / For many years of sorrow can dispense.
    • Gower
      His sin was dispensed / With gold, whereof it was compensed.


Derived termsEdit


dispense (plural dispenses)

  1. (obsolete) Cost, expenditure.
  2. (obsolete) The act of dispensing, dispensation.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.xii:
      what euer in this worldly state / Is sweet, and pleasing vnto liuing sense, / Or that may dayntiest fantasie aggrate, / Was poured forth with plentifull dispence [...].

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit




dispense f

  1. plural of dispensa



  1. third-person singular past historic of dispegnere






  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of dispensar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of dispensar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of dispensar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of dispensar.