Definition of dispatch in English:


(also despatch)


  • 1Send off to a destination or for a purpose.

    ‘he dispatched messages back to base’
    with object and infinitive ‘the mayor dispatched 150 police officers to restore order’
    • ‘In these courts, the mayor acts as judge and decides the appeals of motorists nabbed by cops who are dispatched by the mayor.’
    • ‘What dedicated texter hasn't suffered an epic misunderstanding, or experienced a sick lurch of fear upon dispatching a message of sensitive character to the wrong recipient?’
    • ‘They didn't have any weapons - or weed, for that matter - so they were dispatched and sent on their way.’
    • ‘How can you dispatch such messages on the day that is also your final day for said activity?’
    • ‘At 3.30 am, he duly dispatched a text message suggesting some extra-curricular activity later that day.’
    • ‘When the aid agency in Dublin sent the sterling draft, the Nairobi bookshop despatched the consignment to my rural office.’
    • ‘Tipped off by the friend, police were dispatched to the man's home.’
    • ‘He is not allowed to dispatch any messages back to shore.’
    • ‘The telephonist contacted the Police Information Room and a police car was despatched to the father's address.’
    • ‘The same day, a message was dispatched to William of Orange, begging him to rescue the liberties of the subject.’
    • ‘From his driveway, Benelli dispatches patrol cars and sends officers to new assignments.’
    • ‘The agency logic can then be in control of the order in which these messages are dispatched to the agent.’
    • ‘Police quickly dispatch a cab and send them home.’
    • ‘He may not yet boast the fanbase of his renowned sibling, nor the obligatory website to which ski enthusiasts dispatch goodwill messages, and Noel has not even acquired a nickname.’
    • ‘Police were dispatched to the scene and an RAF helicopter was scrambled to airlift him to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness where he was being treated last night.’
    • ‘After the merger was announced, they immediately dispatched a message via the Financial Times that either the company was smashed up or sold off.’
    • ‘Chirac is taking no chances, however, and has dispatched police reinforcements to the former French nuclear testing ground.’
    • ‘But as before, the device has a calendar, contacts and to-do list, and it lets you dispatch e-mail and multimedia messages.’
    • ‘Police can be dispatched to a scene in minutes, in seconds sometimes.’
    • ‘Why would she dare to dispatch a message to Gloucester at all?’
    send, send off, post, mail, ship, freight
    View synonyms
  • 2Deal with (a task, problem, or opponent) quickly and efficiently.

    ‘they dispatched the opposition’
    • ‘Pittsburgh wasted no time in dispatching the Oilers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To make a long story short, my coveted difficult first ascent was dispatched with ease.’
    • ‘When the green light is observed, you will be free to access your firearm and dispatch your opponent as required.’
    • ‘In the third minute, Amjad Iqbal produced a quality cross and Danny Spence despatched a firm shot from just inside the area to give the Celts a 1-0 lead.’
    • ‘Certainly, Inveraray have not had an easy run to the final, despatching Kingussie's great rivals Newtonmore and league runners-up Fort William en route to the showpiece in Inverness.’
    • ‘Seacrest wasted no time in dispatching Heather Piccinini and Tiara Purifoy.’
    • ‘Drax wasted no time in dispatching Bishopthorpe by bowling the visitors out for just 86.’
    • ‘The next two seeds were even more clinical in dispatching their opponents.’
    • ‘Carter was the man who dispatched opponents like rag dolls during Friday fight nights.’
    • ‘The Scot looked cool and mature and fought cannily before dispatching his opponent with a thunderous hook to the body.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Shuae had already quickly dispatched his opponent, the twin blades surprising and overcoming his foe.’
    • ‘Twice champion Venus Williams wastes little time in dispatching Katarina Srebotnik 6-4 6-1 on Centre Court’
    • ‘Van Nistelrooy collected and dispatched a shot from an acute angle through Frank Juric's legs.’
    • ‘It was amazing to see the ease with which Indian players dispatched their opponents in all the matches.’
    • ‘Be as economic as you can in dispatching each opponent with as little effort as possible.’
    • ‘His second opponent was despatched the same way as Everingham made his mark.’
    • ‘He walked into a field and quietly dispatched his task, catching two worlds that nearly touch and yet seem to have nothing to do with one another.’
    • ‘In came the left-handed Mohammed Rafique and he immediately launched into a clobbering mood, dispatching the ball to the boundary boards in an entertaining knock that included 13 fours and three sixes.’
    • ‘O'Malley's ability depends largely on his eagerness to dispatch opponents back to the dressing room quickly in sometimes alarming states of dishevelment.’
    deal with, finish, dispose of, conclude, settle, sort out, discharge, execute, perform
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Kill.
      ‘he dispatched the animal with one blow’
      • ‘Yes, and the Animal Liberation people complained about what they said was a form of cruelty in the mode of stunning and despatching the animals.’
      • ‘We've caught, shot and otherwise dispatched a few foxes, too.’
      • ‘It was considered so shocking that Louis XV sent his Lord Lieutenant from Paris to find the animal and dispatch it.’
      • ‘Richard sends two murderers to dispatch Clarence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The film takes an unapologetic approach to revenge: Richard tortures each of his victims before killing them, making one dance like a puppet before dispatching him with cold calculation.’
      • ‘So, in medieval times, cats were killed because they were feared, despatched by, for example, having stones thrown at them.’
      • ‘That presented an inviting opportunity to Steven Thompson and the Scotland striker dispatched a low left-foot shot past Marshall.’
      • ‘After dispatching the would-be assassin, Daniel almost collapsed.’
      • ‘If he tires of their company, he can quickly slit their throats or snap their necks, dispatching an opponent.’
      • ‘Where I have a problem is when you play with the animal before you despatch it.’
      • ‘According to the agriculture ministry, 584000 animals have been earmarked for destruction, but about half of them are still alive because there are not enough trained slaughtermen to despatch them.’
      • ‘Arriving rangers had to dispatch two of the animals.’
      • ‘Drawing inspiration from the congeniality of his surroundings, one Thomas Cuddemour drew up a list in a Dartmouth tavern of local men he would kill once the January 1400 plotters had succeeded in despatching Henry IV.’
      • ‘I was beginning to wish the masked murderer would dispatch everyone who was still alive, including herself/himself, so that the movie could end.’
      • ‘Of 30 foxes caught, 25 had been shot and five despatched by the hounds.’
      • ‘The quickest, cleanest way to despatch the lobsters is to kill them before cooking.’
      • ‘And many of these people were killed or dispatched to work at death camps.’
      • ‘Mrs Foy said she rang the police and asked them to send someone to dispatch the deer humanely.’
      • ‘Hardened by his visions and experience with the Citadel, he is no stranger to killing and has dispatched his fair share of assassins.’
      kill, put to death, do to death, do away with, put an end to, finish off, take the life of, end the life of
      View synonyms


  • 1The sending of someone or something to a destination or for a purpose.

    ‘a resolution authorizing the dispatch of a peacekeeping force’
    • ‘The competent authorities in the Member States may permit the transporter or the owner of the products to provide a guarantee in place of that provided by the authorized warehouse keeper of dispatch.’
    • ‘I would have thought the date of dispatch or date of posting.’
    • ‘We recognise that prompt despatch is vital, particularly for repairs and emergency maintenance.’
    • ‘He still carries vivid memories of the bloodshed and terror of fighting in the cornfields of the French countryside - and the jubilation of his dispatch while lying in a hospital bed after being wounded.’
    • ‘The dispatch of U.N. peacekeepers to Liberia is the first real sign of progress in the search for peace in that war-torn country.’
    • ‘However, the government has been unable to forward its projected motion to the legislature due to a lack of consultations with the United States over the details for the troop dispatch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The police dispatch centre phones you back, and sends the nearest available police vehicle to the scene, staying on the line with you to keep up to date on your situation.’
    • ‘Earlier the court heard how a consignment of 22 packages of travellers cheques was delivered to Heathrow Airport in April 1999, ready for dispatch to New Delhi.’
    • ‘We are still suffering the effects of the late dispatch.’
    • ‘In this sense, the U.S. victory this time is expected to help ease the disputes over whether to comply with the Washington's request for an additional troop dispatch.’
    • ‘Merton council has apologised to all telephone callers who may have experienced difficulties in trying to get through to the council following the recent dispatch of more than 80,000 council tax bills.’
    • ‘The Alliance's parliamentary leader, Jim Anderton, successfully insisted that the party's parliamentary caucus support the troop dispatch.’
    • ‘It arrived in Alice Springs on October 9-that's 10 days after dispatch - and was promptly delivered to the wrong address.’
    • ‘Turkey withdrew its plan to send troops to help the U.S.-led rehabilitation work, Poland brought its forces home, while Japan has postponed its troop dispatch.’
    • ‘The dispatch of French troops to Ituri is presented as the ‘first large-scale, independent European military operation.’’
    • ‘Consider its hapless efforts to handle major national questions such as the troop dispatch to Iraq or the parliamentary ratification of the Korea-Chile free trade agreement.’
    • ‘Cabinet-level approval of legislation that would authorize dispatch of Self-Defense Forces personnel could come as early as today.’
    sending, posting, mailing, shipping, transmittal, consignment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Speed in action.
      ‘the situation might change, so he should proceed with dispatch’
      • ‘But the same end could be achieved by less draconian means if the magistrates' courts were empowered to work faster so that those found guilty could be jailed with dispatch.’
      • ‘If the cargo has been taken with all reasonable despatch under those circumstances I think the obligation of the consignee has been fulfilled.’
      • ‘He managed to negotiate unanimous consent agreements to limit debate, so that minor bills of importance to individual senators could be passed with dispatch.’
      • ‘The people then, quite reasonably, expect the state to be able to handle this task - this task which it has created the necessity of - with dispatch.’
      • ‘This process must proceed with dispatch, without posturing, without grandstanding, without empty words.’
      • ‘Matthew Cotton shepherded the book through production with dispatch and tact, and Sarah Barrett's sharp editorial eye and sense of style saved me many errors.’
      • ‘He reached to his left shoulder, his head tilting slightly to communicate with dispatch and demand a rush on a bus.’
      • ‘It must be clear and unambiguous that a life is required, with dispatch, of those who take a life.’
      • ‘I think a healthy, strong society will move with dispatch to eliminate those individuals who perpetrate these kinds of outrages.’
      • ‘If the full committee approves it with dispatch, it will face Hurdle Two.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They did so with dispatch, in one question during direct examination of their client.’
      • ‘You will find that, on most ships, the staff is well accustomed to handling crowds and is skilled at moving passengers with dispatch and courtesy.’
      • ‘They left England needing just 20 runs to win, which they did with dispatch!’
      • ‘She got to the heart of things with dispatch and great common sense, and she always wrapped her wisdom in humor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That state enterprise is the Solid Waste Management Co Ltd, which was set up to permit action with more despatch and efficiency than regular government ministries.’
      • ‘Hanson brilliantly explains what took us so long - and why it would have been better to act with dispatch.’
      • ‘Sir Christopher said the overall impression in this case was of a child protection investigation conducted ‘with dispatch or perhaps undue haste’.’
      • ‘Mr Manning, please move with deliberate dispatch to take advantage of your trip and encourage the use of help in this vital area, but not only for ‘large farm’ projects.’
      promptness, speed, speediness, swiftness, rapidity, quickness, briskness, haste, hastiness, hurriedness, urgency
      View synonyms
  • 2An official report on state or military affairs.

    ‘in his battle dispatch he described the gunner's bravery’
    • ‘He was mentioned in dispatches three times and had been promoted major by 1913.’
    • ‘In 1862, the Union Army constructed nearly 4,000 miles of telegraph lines that transmitted over one million military dispatches.’
    • ‘Earl Haig's war dispatches mention his exemplary service to King and country as a lieutenant colonel during the First World War.’
    • ‘Jon spent his morning reading dispatches from various regiments from the field.’
    • ‘I am told that many of these early military telegraphic dispatches survive in the War Department collection of the U.S. National Archives.’
    • ‘As the battle unfolds, the following dispatch from Centcom is worth keeping in mind.’
    • ‘Now he's considering retracing the steps of legendary Greek messenger Pheidippides, who carried dispatches from Athens to Sparta in the Battle of Marathon in 490 b.c.’
    • ‘The pilots benefited from a great deal of on-the-job training, but the squadron's main contribution to the campaign entailed carrying dispatches and mail.’
    • ‘His official dispatch, written in 1945, was placed on the restricted list apparently because the Air Ministry took objection to it.’
    • ‘From an early age I could picture myself in a helmet and flak jacket, bringing the latest dispatches from far-flung battlefields as the tracer fire soars overhead.’
    • ‘It is building up a new squad of highly-trained birds able to handle confidential military dispatches.’
    • ‘We find that Pyle's reporting style differed from that of most World War II correspondents, whose dispatches from Allied headquarters bear strong resemblance to those of the Pentagon press corps today.’
    • ‘In a dispatch written after the battle, Claiborne praised his soldiers' performance in battle, even those officers who had petitioned him to abort his planned attack on the town.’
    • ‘It could also be awarded to those who were mentioned in dispatches.’
    communication, communiqué, bulletin, release, report, account, announcement, statement, missive, letter, epistle, message, instruction
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A report sent in by a newspaper's correspondent from a faraway place.
      • ‘Journeying through Spain with Evelyn, he wrote regular dispatches for the Monitor, and a travel book, Marching Spain.’
      • ‘Thus each of my 17 chapters begins with a dateline, as if it were a journalistic dispatch.’
      • ‘Unsurprisingly, neither Anderson nor Mone were interviewed by BBC foreign correspondent Fergal Keane, whose frontline dispatch comes from Govan tonight.’
      • ‘But nowhere in his 1,200-word dispatch does Janofsky discuss the spending spree the states indulged in during the economic boom.’
      • ‘China had by the end of the year 289,000 ‘civilian organizations’ as they are called in this dispatch of the official Xinhua newswire.’
      • ‘British newspapers which could not afford their own correspondents used its dispatches.’
      • ‘After describing the horrific devastation, the dispatch went on to describe the scenes in the hospital wards and what Dr Katsube had said.’
      • ‘What follows is a set of dispatches - a memo, a letter, even some traditional articles - about five innovators that are figuring out what's selling in America.’
      • ‘The Associated Press sent a dispatch out of Bangkok that they considered news.’
      • ‘His first dispatch describes his training in a localized use of adobe in a small hamlet.’
      • ‘First, there's a dispatch from AP reporter Margie Mason, who took a trip up the Bay Hap river in August.’
      • ‘Henry Tanner, a New York Times correspondent of two generations ago, caught the flavor of this in a dispatch he sent from the Congo in 1961.’
      • ‘John Reed definitely was an artist, a great journalist, sending dispatches from his travels with Pancho Villa.’
      • ‘The agency, in a dispatch from Pyongyang, said Russian and North Korean officials have already concluded a draft joint declaration that reportedly contains a broad range of issues.’
      • ‘An undeniably dogged reporter, Halligan is nonetheless best known for her relentless determination to deliver every dispatch as though it were breaking news of imminent Armageddon.’
      • ‘The best journalistic despatches always come from behind enemy lines.’
      • ‘The following is Sarah's first euphoric dispatch from down under…’
      • ‘At least one young woman was believed to be seriously wounded, while others collapsed, clutching bullet and shrapnel injuries, according to a pooled despatch from Nick Parker of The Sun.’
      • ‘Did the military alter her other dispatches or was her non-questioning reporting exposing her own bias?’
      written message, message, written communication, communication, note, line, missive, epistle, report, bulletin
      View synonyms
  • 3The killing of someone or something.

    ‘the legendary dispatch of villains by a hero’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Where shotguns are used, particularly with gun packs, terriers are essential to ensure the dispatch of wounded foxes.’
    • ‘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.’
    killing, slaughter, massacre, destruction, extermination, elimination, liquidation
    View synonyms


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