Definition of dispensation in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌdispənˈsāSH(ə)n/
Pronunciation: /ˌdispenˈsāSH(ə)n/


1Exemption from a rule or usual requirement: although she was too young, she was given special dispensation to play two matches they were given a dispensation to take most of the first week off
More example sentences
  • She applied to the College for dispensation from the requirement to re-sit her failed assessments, on the grounds that she had been involved in a number of car accidents, and she was suffering financial hardship.
  • First of all I have to seek dispensation for compliance with rule 41.2.
  • His eyes glisten with unshed tears as he reaches the threshold of his release, desperate to rid himself of the unwanted pleasure but requiring Kenneth's dispensation to do so.
exemption, immunity, exception, exoneration, reprieve, remission
1.1Permission to be exempted from the laws or observances of a church: he received papal dispensation to hold a number of benefices
More example sentences
  • Ordained as a priest, he received papal dispensation to pursue a career as an itinerant scholar and teacher, attaching himself to elite households and powerful printing firms throughout Europe.
  • Initially the early Christians allowed divorce in cases of adultery, but later they taught that only death or Church dispensation could end a marriage.
  • Henry considered it seriously enough to get a papal bull giving him dispensation to bring the Irish into the Catholic fold.
2A system of order, government, or organization of a nation, community, etc., especially as existing at a particular time: scholarship is conveyed to a wider audience than under the old dispensation
More example sentences
  • British policy had developed in the early 1970s as a twin track of levying war and constructing a political dispensation.
  • The older dispensation was not as bad as liberal commentators and story-tellers would have us believe, but it is gone forever and will not return.
  • Unless dialogue is allowed to be the hallmark, very little succeeds especially in political dispensations.
system, order, arrangement, organization
2.1(In Christian theology) a divinely ordained order prevailing at a particular period of history: the Mosaic dispensation
More example sentences
  • We should now very briefly note that there is a fourth context in which Paul mentions the law, that of direct comparison between the dispensation of law and the dispensation of faith in Christ.
  • Throughout all dispensations, these have been the unchanging requirements for living in a covenant relationship with God.
  • Dispensationalists differ as to the number and extent of these dispensations.
2.2 archaic An act of divine providence: the laws to which the creator in all his dispensations conforms
More example sentences
  • ‘Death,’ wrote Washington, ‘was leveling my companions on every side of me; but, by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected.’
  • The majority are already resigned to the dispensations of Providence.
  • Divine dispensation determined to honor her in this station so that, having scorned the king's servant, she came to be coupled with the king himself and bring forth royal children.
3The action of distributing or supplying something: regulations controlling dispensation of medications
More example sentences
  • As professionals, pharmacists should offer information on use and dispensation of medication, not their particular religious convictions.
  • As the controversies over dispensation of the western territories grew unavoidable, so the Jacksonian political alignments crumbled.
  • To this effect, it is imperative that Zambia takes stock of its investment in health infrastructure before originating grandiose plans on medical dispensation.
distribution, supply, supplying, issue, issuing, handing out, doling out, dishing out, sharing out, dividing out;
division, allocation, allotment, apportionment



Pronunciation: /-SHənl/
Example sentences
  • They were deeply loyal to the biblical text, not dispensational, devoted to a style of conservative theology that could hold its own in the world of ideas, and they believed in the central importance of evangelism.
  • By the 1960s, a group of Fellowship Baptists founded London Baptist College so that a more thoroughly dispensational position was articulated.
  • Strongly tied to biblical inerrancy was dispensational premillennialism, which predicted the imminent return of Jesus Christ to earth.


Late Middle English: from Latin dispensatio(n-), from the verb dispensare (see dispense).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dis·pen·sa·tion

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