Definition of disposition in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌdispəˈziSH(ə)n/


1A person’s inherent qualities of mind and character: a sweet-natured girl of a placid disposition
More example sentences
  • Rather it was the people and their dispositions.
  • There must be hundreds, thousands of words, which quite aptly describe persons of certain dispositions.
  • Caged, with no food or water, his placid disposition changed to that of a raging fiend.
1.1 [often with infinitive] An inclination or tendency: the cattle showed a decided disposition to run the judge’s disposition toward clemency
More example sentences
  • Subsequent lapses in devotion or attitude do not alter God's disposition to save the individual.
  • True, the terms of entry were not clearly canvassed, but we may assume a clear disposition to favour New Zealand entry.
  • Religious reawakening was needed to strengthen people's innate disposition to distinguish right from wrong.
2The way in which something is placed or arranged, especially in relation to other things: the plan need not be accurate so long as it shows the disposition of the rooms
More example sentences
  • In all conditions except that of free fall, a live body can be distinguished from an inert structure by the relative disposition of the body parts, its ‘posture’.
  • Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind.
  • The spatial disposition of the pores relative to the electroporating pulse was, however, not resolved.
arrangement, positioning, placement, configuration;
setup, lineup, layout, array;
marshaling, mustering, grouping;
Military  dressing
2.1The action of arranging or ordering people or things in a particular way: the prerogative gives the state widespread powers regarding the disposition and control of the armed forces
More example sentences
  • Considerable advance was made in force disposition, battle order and AT defense organization.
  • By observing the spirit of the enemy's men and getting the best position, you can work out the enemy's disposition and move your men accordingly.
  • Stalin's military and political dispositions once the war started have incurred odium.
2.2 (dispositions) Military preparations, in particular the stationing of troops ready for attack or defense: the new strategic dispositions of our forces
More example sentences
  • They can reconnoiter to determine enemy dispositions and occupy observation posts from which they can observe the battlefield and relay information to the commander.
  • Gen. Gerald J. Higgins, the assistant division commander and an experienced infantryman, with ensuring that troop dispositions supported his defense plans.
  • The troop dispositions were disappointing, with infantry, tank and artillery units intermixed and based on widely separated hills unable to support each other.
3 Law The action of distributing or transferring property or money to someone, in particular by bequest: this is a tax that affects the disposition of assets on death
More example sentences
  • It, therefore, for the purposes of the Tax Act, which is now applying differently to the real facts, treats that disposition of property as a distribution of profits.
  • The freedom of testamentary disposition, of course, is a matter of statute under the Wills Act, originally under the statute of wills.
  • Family relations are strengthened, however, by the law of inheritance, which does not recognize a principle of free testamentary disposition.
distribution, disposal, allocation, transfer;
sale, auction
4The power to deal with something as one pleases: if Napoleon had had railroads at his disposition, he would have been invincible
More example sentences
  • They used the funds placed at their disposition in ways that were hardly conspicuous for spiritual disinterestedness.
  • Now she found herself at the command of an army of merry pirates, with two ships at her disposition, and holding prisoner both the pirates' Captain and the hunter that had dragged her in this splendid adventure.
  • He has very few moves at his disposition, he can't destroy most of the blocks in his way, he can't even swim properly.
4.1 archaic The determination of events, especially by divine power.
Example sentences
  • Thus Graham is hesitant("It may be" and "I can't say for certain") to acknowledge that God's disposition of judgment can be reliably discerned here.
  • The first is that there are good reasons to think that there are irreducible dispositions in nature, and that where such dispositions are manifested, there are logically necessary causal connections.
  • The necessity of man's willing and acting in conformity to his apprehensions and disposition, is, in their opinion, fully consistent with all the liberty which can belong to a rational nature.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin dispositio(n-), from disponere 'arrange' (see dispose).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dis·po·si·tion

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.