• (Australia) IPA: /dəˈspætʃ/
  • (RP) IPA: /dɪˈspætʃ/
  • (America) IPA: /dɪˈspætʃ/

dispatch (dispatches, present participle dispatching; past and past participle dispatched)

  1. (transitive) To send (a shipment) with promptness.
  2. (transitive) To send (a person) away hastily.
  3. (transitive) To send (an important official message) promptly, by means of a diplomat or military officer.
  4. (transitive) To send (a journalist) to a place in order to report.
  5. (transitive) To dispose of speedily, as business; to execute quickly; to make a speedy end of; to finish; to perform.
    • c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene ii]:
      Yet, ere we put ourselves in arms, despatch we / The business we have talk'd of.
  6. (transitive) To rid; to free.
  7. (transitive) To destroy quickly and efficiently.
  8. (transitive, computing) To pass on for further processing, especially via a dispatch table (often with to).
  9. (intransitive, obsolete) To hurry.
  10. (transitive, obsolete) To deprive.
Synonyms Related terms
  • dispatch table
  • happy dispatch
Translations Translations
  • German: beeilen
  • Portuguese: apressar-se
  • Russian: спешить
  • Spanish: despachar
Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: расправляться
  • Spanish: despacharse


  1. A message sent quickly, as a shipment, a prompt settlement of a business, or an important official message sent by a diplomat, or military officer.
  2. The act of doing something quickly.
    Synonyms: haste, hurry, rapidity
    We must act with dispatch in this matter.
    • 1661, John Fell (bishop), The Life of the most learned, reverend and pious Dr. H. Hammond ↗
      During the whole time of his abode in the university he generally spent thirteen hours of the day in study; by which assiduity besides an exact dispatch of the whole course of philosophy, he read over in a manner all classic authors that are extant […]
  3. A mission by an emergency response service, typically attend to an emergency in the field.
  4. (computing) The passing on of a message for further processing, especially via a dispatch table.
  5. (obsolete) A dismissal.
Translations Translations

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