Definition of dispatch in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈspatʃ/
(also despatch)


[with object]
1Send off to a destination or for a purpose: he dispatched messages back to base [with object and infinitive]: the government dispatched 150 police to restore order
More example sentences
  • They didn't have any weapons - or weed, for that matter - so they were dispatched and sent on their way.
  • From his driveway, Benelli dispatches patrol cars and sends officers to new assignments.
  • Police quickly dispatch a cab and send them home.
2Deal with (a task or opponent) quickly and efficiently: the Welsh team were dispatched comfortably by the opposition
More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, Shuae had already quickly dispatched his opponent, the twin blades surprising and overcoming his foe.
  • O'Malley's ability depends largely on his eagerness to dispatch opponents back to the dressing room quickly in sometimes alarming states of dishevelment.
  • It's a sign of the changing attitude of the players that this season they have been far more disciplined in dispatching opponents, even in the face of overzealous aggression.
deal with, finish, dispose of, conclude, settle, sort out, discharge, execute, perform;
expedite, push through, accelerate, hasten, speed up, hurry on
2.1Kill: he dispatched the animal with one blow
More example sentences
  • Hardened by his visions and experience with the Citadel, he is no stranger to killing and has dispatched his fair share of assassins.
  • If a farmer fails to meet this deadline the animal is unable to leave the farm and is therefore not allowed to enter the foodchain dispatching many animals to death.
  • And many of these people were killed or dispatched to work at death camps.
kill, put to death, do to death, do away with, put an end to, finish off, take the life of, end the life of;
murder, assassinate, execute
North American informal ice, off, rub out, waste, whack, smoke, scrag
North American euphemistic terminate with extreme prejudice
literary slay


1 [mass noun] The sending of someone or something to a destination or for a purpose: a resolution authorizing the dispatch of a peacekeeping force
More example sentences
  • Cabinet-level approval of legislation that would authorize dispatch of Self-Defense Forces personnel could come as early as today.
  • I would have thought the date of dispatch or date of posting.
  • If you have an interest into what really happened on the day, you can either read the unedited transcripts or download the audio dispatch transmissions.
1.1Promptness and efficiency: the situation might change, so he should proceed with dispatch
More example sentences
  • Sir Christopher said the overall impression in this case was of a child protection investigation conducted ‘with dispatch or perhaps undue haste’.
  • While the plaintiffs have the onus to proceed expeditiously and with dispatch in the prosecution of an action, this is not a case where the default has been intentional or contumelious.
  • Worse, their districts or specific duties to which they are assigned are so self-regulated, they dare not cross a street or act with dispatch if a crime is being committed outside their jurisdiction.
2An official report on state or military affairs: in his battle dispatch he described the gunner’s bravery
More example sentences
  • It is building up a new squad of highly-trained birds able to handle confidential military dispatches.
  • His official dispatch, written in 1945, was placed on the restricted list apparently because the Air Ministry took objection to it.
  • I am told that many of these early military telegraphic dispatches survive in the War Department collection of the U.S. National Archives.
communication, communiqué, bulletin, release, report, account, announcement, statement, missive, letter, epistle, message, instruction;
news, intelligence
informal memo, info, low-down, dope
literary tidings
2.1A report sent in from abroad by a journalist: he conducted meetings for the correspondents and censored their dispatches
More example sentences
  • Thus each of my 17 chapters begins with a dateline, as if it were a journalistic dispatch.
  • The Associated Press sent a dispatch out of Bangkok that they considered news.
  • The best journalistic despatches always come from behind enemy lines.
3 [mass noun] The killing of someone or something: the executioner’s merciful dispatch of his victims
More example sentences
  • The entry of Michael Corleone into the family business, the transition of power from his father, the ruthless dispatch of his enemies - all of this is told with an assurance that is simply outstanding.
  • As soon as hounds do get close to a glycogen depleted deer, it is very unlikely to escape and its despatch is generally prompt.
  • She received a letter from Sir Anthony Babington, asking for her to approve "the dispatch of the usurping Competitor" – in other words, the assassination of Elizabeth.


Early 16th century: from Italian dispacciare or Spanish despachar 'expedite', from dis-, des- (expressing reversal) + the base of Italian impacciare, Spanish empachar 'hinder'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dis|patch

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