Definition of dispose in US English:



  • 1dispose ofno object Get rid of by throwing away or giving or selling to someone else.

    ‘people now have substantial assets to dispose of after their death’
    ‘whose responsibility is it to dispose of scrap materials?’
    • ‘The exception where a bank would be defeated was if the buyer were fraudulent and sold or otherwise disposed of the goods obtained under a trust receipt to innocent third parties.’
    • ‘Both sites were sold as part of Waterford Crystal's programme of disposing of nonessential assets.’
    • ‘A capital gain is the profit arising to a person when he sells, or disposes of, an asset which he owns.’
    • ‘Trolleys which remain unclaimed for six weeks will be sold or disposed of.’
    • ‘It also provided the government with the power to sell, or otherwise dispose of the coal.’
    • ‘The fire occurred at approx. 2 o'clock, when a spark from a fire disposing of waste materials ignited a number of buckets containing paint thinner.’
    • ‘In addition, income tax will be due irrespective of whether the shares are disposed of or retained.’
    • ‘Incineration has been used for decades as the magic-bullet solution to disposing of otherwise persistent waste materials.’
    • ‘All pigs on those farms are to be destroyed over the next 10 days, and their bodies disposed of as waste material.’
    • ‘In the absence of clear evidence that a spouse intends to sell or dispose of an asset or will be forced to do so, a court should not grant a deduction for notional sale or disposition costs.’
    • ‘Markham told the jury he realised that he didn't have any way of effectively disposing of the body and threw the pieces into bushes before returning to the house.’
    • ‘If approved, he can sell the license to waste soil dumping companies to dispose of waste soil at the site.’
    • ‘‘Two years ago we were losing a lot of money in the government business, and we said there is no sense in selling it now or disposing of it now,’ he said,’
    • ‘Pressure-treated lumber is not classified as a hazardous waste material, so the scraps can be disposed of at any landfill.’
    • ‘In the following years, the business can usually deduct 25 per cent of the remaining value until the cost is written off or the item is sold, disposed of or given away.’
    • ‘However, the right to sell, or otherwise dispose of, an estate can be limited if the estate owner enters into a covenant to that effect.’
    • ‘The rubbish was to be sorted and sold on or disposed of but eventually the waste was merely being dumped and not removed.’
    • ‘You cannot sell them or dispose of them without the permission of the finance company.’
    • ‘Tax is deferred until your spouse ultimately sells the assets or is deemed to have disposed of the assets.’
    • ‘I decided to leave the engines on the plane and if a buyer was interested, we would sell the engines and dispose of the airframe.’
    throw away, throw out, cast out, get rid of, do away with, discard, jettison, abandon, eject, unload
    part with, give away, make over, hand over, deliver up, bestow, transfer
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    1. 1.1informal Kill; destroy.
      ‘all of them have been efficient in disposing of their rivals by deadly means’
      • ‘They walked in the window and found themselves with three guards, which were quickly disposed of.’
      • ‘A group of about 25 infantry rebels formed a line to stop their attack but the mounted units quickly disposed of them losing only 2 of their men.’
      • ‘The consequences are that a lot of hoggs which would have otherwise gone into the food chain have been disposed of at public expense and there is now a scarcity of sheep meat.’
      • ‘Jesus was a serious political liability who had to be quickly disposed of;’
      • ‘This included the torture of more than 100 women who fled El Salvador and were disposed of by being thrown from helicopters.’
      • ‘Under Stalin and the Bolsheviks, any such opposition was impossible and Bishop von Galen would have been quickly disposed of.’
      • ‘Z button makes Fisher whistle, a helpful addition in order to call enemies to dark places where they can be quietly disposed.’
      • ‘We got an inn to spend the night in, but when the owner's wife came into our room with a plate of food, we disposed of her quickly.’
      • ‘The case with this, though, is that Ed Gein forced his mother into this situation, immediately killing her afterwards to dispose the evidence.’
      • ‘He's a crook, that runs a big casino and disposes of people very quickly without the bat of an eyelid.’
      • ‘As the first one reaches me, I engage him in sword play before quickly disposing of him, but not before he gets a quick slice in my arm.’
      • ‘He's down the list aways but taking into account how quickly they're disposing of our agents, not to mention Mac, I thought that you might want to look into this one.’
      • ‘It is cheaper to dispose of prisoners quickly than to keep them locked up for the (comparatively few) years they'll spend in prison.’
      • ‘Farmers forced to sell or dispose of stock due to the dry seasonal conditions may be able to spread or defer their taxable income.’
      • ‘Shocked at how quickly the guards were disposed of, it took Faye a moment to realize that she was being pulled to her feet yet again, only this time without the harshness of the guard.’
      kill, cause the death of, end the life of, take the life of, do away with, make away with, murder, assassinate, do to death, eliminate, terminate, dispatch, finish off, put to death, execute
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    2. 1.2 Overcome (a rival or threat)
      ‘team members were buoyant after they disposed of the champions’
      • ‘Nor will the threat to science posed by the Christian fundamentalist movement be disposed of simply through the election of new school boards.’
      • ‘Now Gore has handily disposed of his Democratic rival and has improved in opinion polls against Bush.’
      • ‘He created a pool of black water to bring her to his fortress so that he could dispose of her, knowing she presented a threat.’
      • ‘We will unify, to combat this threat and dispose of it forever!’
      • ‘Magnus claimed his share of the earldom, but within a few years Haakon determined to dispose of his political rival.’
      • ‘And the other side won't have any regrets about disposing of such a threat.’
      • ‘Yorkshire Champion, G I Wilson from Oldham, also reached the final after appearing, quickly disposing of his opponents and disappearing quietly into the night.’
      • ‘Within these first few seconds, half of the four man threat was already disposed of.’
      • ‘GHA arrived at Mansfield Park hoping to complete a unique double over Borders rivals, having disposed of Gala a week earlier.’
      • ‘Marie began her take-over process by disposing of her rival queens…’
      • ‘They had quickly noticed the threat and disposed of him in the most legal of ways: failure at his job.’
      • ‘Having disposed of their Northern rivals Park now face Midlands club Ampthill.’
      • ‘Will Celtic resume business by disposing of their city rivals or will this be the start of a Rangers revival?’
      • ‘Robinson quickly disposed of Graham Hogben but Mead was joined by Mark Lynch and this pair took the score to a commanding 163.’
      • ‘He disposed of his rival claimants, and quelled various rebellions that the succession crisis had spawned.’
      • ‘Horwich quickly disposed of Farnworth Social Circle for 97 with teenager Gareth Dooley grabbing 6-28.’
      • ‘The last guy was a lightweight with eight wins out of 10 and Alex disposed of him pretty quickly.’
      • ‘Admittedly, Bean improves rapidly once crowned, and sets about disposing of his rivals with suitable savagery.’
      • ‘And Tomek saved me somewhat by disposing of my next-closest threat.’
    3. 1.3informal Consume (food or drink) quickly or enthusiastically.
      ‘she watched him dispose of a large slice of cheese’
      • ‘Shortly after the horrendous cafeteria ‘food’ was disposed of, a familiar cheery voice resounded through the room.’
      • ‘Soren stood and grabbed his lunch tray, disposing of the food he hadn't eaten and setting the tray on the small stack of dirty ones already occupying a window in the kitchen.’
      • ‘Given, though, that many of these beings are incorporeal in nature and will not likely be disposing of the food themselves, this leaves the offerer with a galling dilemma: what is the proper way to clean up after the gods?’
      consume, eat, eat up, devour, ingest, swallow, gobble, gobble up, wolf down, gorge oneself on, feast on
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  • 2with object Bring (someone) into a particular frame of mind.

    ‘prolactin is released, disposing you toward sleep’
    with object and infinitive ‘personalities that dispose them to be uncooperative and egotistic’
    • ‘Natural law theory held the world to consist of a variety of beings and objects whose essence disposed them toward the fulfillment of higher purposes.’
    • ‘Yet some also reflects on the Scottish audiences so much of his work addressed, and on the history which so disposed them towards it.’
    • ‘Their positions within these new institutions may have disposed them to promote commercial values and made them willing to support the industrial and modernizing social order.’
    • ‘They ease the atmosphere around two people and kindly dispose people to each other.’
    • ‘The first process, self-selection, was created by internal motivational states and/or external incentives that disposed some people to volunteer for treatment.’
    incline, encourage, persuade, predispose, make willing, make, move, prompt, lead, induce, inspire, tempt, motivate, actuate
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  • 3with object and adverbial Arrange in a particular position.

    ‘the chief disposed his attendants in a circle’
    • ‘A fine particle of metal is disposed on a semiconductor substrate.’
    • ‘The ‘welcome’ signs, artfully disposed, make it clear that hospitality is merely an allusive flavor; they are in no wise meant to be taken literally.’
    • ‘Word lines are disposed in parallel, and the main bit line and the ground line cross the word lines.’
    • ‘The measuring device is disposed between two magnets that are positioned at a distance from one another.’
    • ‘Both proteins are disposed as strings of beads arranged along long pitch longitudinal helices, but the strings of beads for the two proteins are on separate stripes of membrane.’
    • ‘Recently, I went to a soccer game in my city on behalf of a newspaper; the fans of the opposing teams had to be separated by hundreds of policemen, disposed in military fashion.’
    • ‘RyRs are disposed in a tetragonal arrangement, and groups of four DHPRs, or tetrads, are associated with alternate RyRs, forming a related array.’
    • ‘There are two dining rooms, both tightly packed, both with mottled greyish-green walls and bizarrely disposed lumps of varnished pine.’
    • ‘At this time his work was purely abstract, featuring geometrically disposed bars and rectangles in a style close to Mondrian and van Doesburg.’
    • ‘We told people not to use running streams or rivers as toilet facilities because if the bacteria that carries cholera is disposed in water it grows and spreads faster.’
    • ‘Nor, fifthly, would it yield his inquiry more satisfaction, to be answered, that there existed in things a principle of order, which had disposed the parts of the watch into their present form and situation.’
    • ‘Nor did he put the figures on display in a frontally disposed arrangement.’
    • ‘This block is more frontally disposed, formally clear, and attuned to the wide space in front of the complex than anything already there.’
    • ‘Each of the boards was sunk into the PDMS at rates controlled by a range of symmetrically disposed weights.’
    • ‘A pin array is connectively disposed between a surface region of a heat sink and a surface region of an entity to be cooled.’
    • ‘More often than not, offensive operations did not consist in digging continuous trench positions and zones disposed in depth.’
    • ‘The base portions are disposed in a matrix arrangement having rows and columns.’
    • ‘A first planar electrode layer being transparent is disposed on an inner surface of the first substrate.’
    arrange, order, place, put, position, orient, array, spread out, range, set up, form, organize, seat, stand
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    1. 3.1literary no object Determine the course of events.
      ‘the city proposed, but the unions disposed’
      • ‘There are a whole lot of proposals, but it is really the Congress that disposes.’
      • ‘The Pentagon proposes, the press disposes - albeit within softer confines than prevailed in the Gulf War.’
      • ‘The generals may propose, but H5N1 will dispose.’
      • ‘People propose, cops dispose.’


Late Middle English: from Old French disposer, from Latin disponere ‘arrange’, influenced by dispositus ‘arranged’ and Old French poser ‘to place’.