verb (used with or without object), noun

  1. dispatch.

verb (used with object)

  1. to send off or away with speed, as a messenger, telegram, body of troops, etc.
  2. to dismiss (a person), as after an audience.
  3. to put to death; kill: The spy was promptly dispatched.
  4. to transact or dispose of (a matter) promptly or speedily.

verb (used without object)

  1. Archaic. to hasten; be quick.


  1. the sending off of a messenger, letter, etc., to a destination.
  2. the act of putting to death; killing; execution.
  3. prompt or speedy transaction, as of business.
  4. expeditious performance; promptness or speed: Proceed with all possible dispatch.
  5. Commerce.
    1. a method of effecting a speedy delivery of goods, money, etc.
    2. a conveyance or organization for the expeditious transmission of goods, money, etc.
  6. a written message sent with speed.
  7. an official communication sent by special messenger.
  8. Journalism. a news story transmitted to a newspaper, wire service, or the like, by one of its reporters, or by a wire service to a newspaper or other news agency.

  1. mentioned in dispatches, British. honored by being named in official military reports for special bravery or acts of service.


  1. (tr) a less common spelling of dispatch

verb (tr)

  1. to send off promptly, as to a destination or to perform a task
  2. to discharge or complete (a task, duty, etc) promptly
  3. informal to eat up quickly
  4. to murder or execute


  1. the act of sending off a letter, messenger, etc
  2. prompt action or speed (often in the phrase with dispatch)
  3. an official communication or report, sent in haste
  4. journalism a report sent to a newspaper, etc, by a correspondent
  5. murder or execution

18c. variant of dispatch (q.v.), apparently the result of an error in the printing of Johnson’s dictionary.


1510s, “to send off in a hurry,” from a word in Spanish (despachar “expedite, hasten”) or Italian (dispacciare “to dispatch”). For first element, see dis-. The exact source of the second element has been proposed as Vulgar Latin *pactare “to fasten, fix” or *pactiare, or as Latin -pedicare “to entrap” (from Latin pedica “shackle;” see impeach); and the Spanish and Italian words seem to be related to (perhaps opposites of) Old Proven├žal empachar “impede.” See OED for full discussion. Meaning “to get rid of by killing” is attested from 1520s. Related: Dispatched; dispatching. As a noun, from 1540s, originally “dismissal;” sense of “a message sent speedily” is first attested 1580s.

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