from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not essential; unimportant: dispensable items of personal property.
  • adj. Capable of being dispensed, administered, or distributed: dispensable drugs.
  • adj. Subject to dispensation, as a vow or church law.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Able to be done without; able to be expended; easily replaced.
  • adj. Capable of being dispensed; distributable.
  • adj. Subject to dispensation; possible to relax, exempt from, or annul.
  • adj. Not essential to be taken in as part of an organism's diet, as it can be synthesized de novo.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being dispensed or administered.
  • adj. Capable of being dispensed with.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of being dispensed or administered.
  • Capable of being spared or dispensed with.
  • Capable of receiving or being the subject of dispensation; hence, excusable; pardonable.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. capable of being dispensed with or done without


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • You'll have to give up some stuff on that list and which are dispensable is something only you guys know.

    Help finding our ideal place in Mexico

  • Klf-4 and c-myc endogenously expressed in the starting cells, make forcing their expression dispensable

    PLoS ONE Alerts: New Articles

  • (Romesh Ratnesar subtitles his dispensable book on Reagan's 1987 "tear down this wall" speech in Berlin "A City, a President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War.")


  • This book is described as a gripping exploration of a society in the throes of a system geared toward eliminating those who do not contribute by conventional means, in which the 'dispensable' ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the 'necessary' ones.

    Archive 2010-04-01

  • Additionally, the acceptance that Murray was 'dispensable' (this isn't exactly the right word, but Murray and I struggled to find the word that encapsulated this idea): if Murray stopped, the performance would go on just fine without him.

    Irish Blogs

  • So, let's put together an alternative list: every one is 'dispensable' / 'inessential' it's important to add something unexpected / incongruous / different you have the possibility, and the responsibility to, (re) define you role random observations and questions

    Irish Blogs

  • 'dispensable' in the pursuit of the greater common good.


  • First, there's the whole set of assumptions, ranging from crude to very subtle, that women's lives are worth less then men's, that women are dispensable.

    Katherine Marshall: Families, Planning, And Faith

  • In golf, the unthinkable thought is that Tiger Woods is dispensable.

    'I'm Glad Tiger's Not Here'

  • We also can add arrogance to the list of why some people think other species are no more important than dispensable objects.

    Marc Bekoff: Animal Minds and the Foible of Human Exceptionalism


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.