Definition of dispensary in US English:



  • 1A room where medicines are prepared and provided.

    • ‘Under the patients' choice item scheme, the authority hopes to draw up a list of medicines that are available from the hospital dispensaries at current rates.’
    • ‘An increasing number of city and county residents have complained of the presence of dispensaries in their neighborhoods, however, and city officials are not happy with the little to no regulation, spurring the recent moratoriums.’
    • ‘A nurse is assigned to the central station of each pod and provides support, triage, and technical and dispensary services for all six examination rooms.’
    • ‘Efforts were being made to make these books available at the ‘new reading points’ such as hospitals, dispensaries, and haircut saloons, Mr. Nagaraj said.’
    • ‘From obstetrics, she went to the dispensary and the emergency room.’
    • ‘The new unit offers spacious consultation rooms designed to maximise privacy and dignity, a pharmacy dispensary, a cancer information and support centre, a comfortable waiting area and a refreshment bar staffed by volunteers.’
    • ‘Four hospitals were built at conveniently spaced distances along the road and equipped with dispensaries, operating rooms, wards, kitchens and quarters for staff.’
    • ‘The sets of ampoules were made up at an independent homoeopathic dispensary (the Centre for the Study of Complementary Medicine, Southampton) with numerical codes on each of the bottles.’
    • ‘A dispensary room featured all the tablets and medicines which were once doled out to sheep, horses, dogs and cats.’
    • ‘It would create state-regulated dispensaries to supply marijuana, let authorized growers sell pot to patients for a profit, and allow patients to possess a pound of it at a time instead of the current 3-ounce limit.’
    • ‘The dispensary, with its scores of bottles containing different coloured medicines on the shelves, has been left just as Alf would have found it in the 1950s.’
    • ‘The centre is equipped with a dispensary having all herbal medicines and expert druggists from the AVP.’
    • ‘All that left was for the dispensary to issue some medicine, which they did, but not before the women lying on the bench next to me vomited all over the floor.’
    • ‘For example, a local doctor contracted to provide care to Woomera detainees noted that the dispensary at the camp did not fill at least one prescription he provided to an inmate because the drug was regarded as excessively expensive.’
    • ‘When completed it will consist of a full primary school of 16 classrooms, a dispensary, nursery school, playgrounds, sanitation facilities, a brothers' house and staff house.’
    • ‘There will be ten consultant rooms, two treatment rooms to be used by nurse practitioners and district nurses, a minor operations room, a health education room for health visitors, a counselling room and a dispensary.’
  • 2A clinic provided by public or charitable funds.

    • ‘In one such camp there is only one doctor from a Rajasthan hospital, Dr Aquil Ansari who has opened a temporary dispensary in a class room and who is tending to patients day and night.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Oregon voters turned down the chance to revise their existing law by allowing patients to get their medicine from dispensaries regulated by the state.’
    • ‘Every one knows the fact that Christian missionary institutions run their schools, colleges, dispensaries and hospitals etc very enthusiastically and successfully.’
    • ‘Rajasthan had 17 Unani dispensaries and 7 Ayurveda dispensaries in 1947.’
    • ‘In ancient China, it was quite common for doctors to be seen in dispensaries diagnosing diseases for patients and prescribing Traditional Chinese Medicines as the treatment.’
    • ‘£300 could buy a kit of equipment and medicines for a village dispensary which enables a trained volunteer health worker to detect and treat the majority of simple illnesses among rural children and mothers.’
    • ‘They tried to pressure him into closing his dispensary.’
    • ‘Malaria and tuberculosis were dealt with in the little dispensary.’
    • ‘Therapeutic feeding centres are attached to dispensaries in larger settlements.’
    • ‘Every district has a medical dispensary, although many lack supplies and medicine.’
    • ‘‘There is no money in the family, because of the many times I attended dispensaries and did not get well’.’
    • ‘Just £300 could buy a kit of equipment and medicines for a village dispensary, which enables a trained volunteer health worker to detect and treat the majority of simple illnesses among rural children and mothers.’
    • ‘Our first rough estimate is that we've raised just under a thousand pounds - all in aid of providing a medical dispensary for one of the poorest areas of India.’
    • ‘Although several makeshift dispensaries are erected during the Hajj season, these are often difficult to access, largely on account of the human mass.’
    • ‘In the area of health care in camps even though dispensaries were provided with adequate staff yet the related infrastructural facilities equipments are conspicuous by their dearth.’
    • ‘His activities are listed as preaching, open-air mission, medical treatment and education, together with building schools, a medical dispensary, a place of worship and a missionary house.’
    • ‘These types of medicines are only allowed to be sold at dispensaries with physicians' prescriptions,’ Rachmat said.’
    • ‘Before this time, dispensaries, which provided advice and medicine to parents, existed.’
    • ‘People were unable to attend the dispensary, so staff from both MDM and the Palestinian Scientific Medical Association went to collect patients from their homes, while briefing the army coordination officer about their movements.’
    • ‘Vaccinations undertaken either by a nurse in the dispensaries or by mobile teams, did not comply with the vaccination schedules.’
  • 3North American A facility that prepares and sells medical marijuana.

    ‘state-issued ID cards are good for up to two ounces of pot a month from state-approved dispensaries’
    • ‘In 2002 he was convicted by federal authorities for providing medical marijuana to a dispensary in California.’
    • ‘Federal agents continue to target medical marijuana dispensaries, even when such organizations are protected by state laws.’
    • ‘"The thing most at jeopardy is the dispensaries and big growers."’
    • ‘Even if I could get a recommendation, I knew of no compassion clubs (medical marijuana cooperatives or dispensaries) in my area.’
    • ‘Nothing against the local pot dealer, but dispensaries seem to be a safe, accommodating, affordable and necessary thing in California society.’
    • ‘He was the first person associated with a California medical-marijuana dispensary to be tried under federal law.’
    • ‘His 350-plant indoor grow, which produces about two ounces per plant, supplies a 12-member patient collective, two dispensaries, and an AIDS hospice.’
    • ‘Most collectives meet their expenses by selling their surplus pot to dispensaries or directly to other patients.’
    • ‘Owners of the Hayward dispensaries must now sign off on a host of regulations, including restrictions on the amount of marijuana they may stock, a ban on advertising, and enacting policies to prevent loitering and smoking in or near the dispensaries.’
    • ‘The 50 trimmers at this clandestine grow site work 16-hour days for three weeks, hand-trimming top-grade marijuana destined for medical marijuana patients and dispensaries in San Francisco.’


Late 17th century: from medieval Latin dispensarium, neuter (used as a noun) of dispensarius, from Latin dispensare (see dispense).