Definition of dispensable in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /dəˈspensəb(ə)l/


1Able to be replaced or done without; superfluous: tiny battlefield robots will be cheap and dispensable
More example sentences
  • The fourth group can be characterized as the urban working class, most of whom are increasingly dispensable and replaceable; their diminished prospects cause them to be generally opposed to globalization.
  • If we could, the manuscripts would become unnecessary, dispensable.
  • We should not, however, assume from this that for Augustine-or for us-this parable is dispensable, a redundant repetition of a message that we already know from elsewhere.
expendable, disposable, replaceable, inessential, nonessential, noncore;
unnecessary, redundant, superfluous, surplus to requirements
1.1(Of a law or other rule) able to be relaxed in special cases.
Example sentences
  • And finally, would the government get to decide which red streams were necessary and which were dispensable?
  • Yet these aren't dispensable technicalities or bits of mere philosophical jargon; they're essential to any useful discussion of ethics.
  • But acquisition of a land title was often a dispensable technicality for those too poor to purchase one, or who were not inclined to do so because of the vastness of the land.



Pronunciation: /-ˌpensəˈbilitē/
Example sentences
  • Could we develop a biological guidance system with the compliance and dispensability of a pigeon but with a man's resourcefulness and ability to infiltrate plausibly?
  • It's the sense of disposability and dispensability of the population that's ongoing and that really irks me.
  • She explores the theme of dispensability - how only some lives are worth mourning, protecting, defending and discussing.


Early 16th century (in the sense 'permissible in special circumstances'): from medieval Latin dispensabilis, from Latin dispensare (see dispense).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.