Definitions

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

  • n. The act of dispensing.
  • n. Something dispensed.
  • n. A specific arrangement or system by which something is dispensed.
  • n. An exemption or release from an obligation or rule, granted by or as if by an authority.
  • n. An exemption from a church law, a vow, or another similar obligation granted in a particular case by an ecclesiastical authority.
  • n. The document containing this exemption.
  • n. Theology The divine ordering of worldly affairs.
  • n. Theology A religious system or code of commands considered to have been divinely revealed or appointed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of dispensing or dealing out; distribution; often used of the distribution of good and evil by God to man, or more generically, of the acts and modes of his administration.
  • n. That which is dispensed, dealt out, or appointed; that which is enjoined or bestowed
  • n. A system of principles, promises, and rules ordained and administered; scheme; economy; as, the Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian dispensations.
  • n. The relaxation of a law in a particular case; permission to do something forbidden, or to omit doing something enjoined; specifically, in the Roman Catholic Church, exemption from some ecclesiastical law or obligation to God which a man has incurred of his own free will (oaths, vows, etc.).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of dispensing or dealing out; distribution; often used of the distribution of good and evil by God to man, or more generically, of the acts and modes of his administration.
  • n. That which is dispensed, dealt out, or appointed; that which is enjoined or bestowed.
  • n. The relaxation of a law in a particular case; permission to do something forbidden, or to omit doing something enjoined; specifically, in the Roman Catholic Church, exemption from some ecclesiastical law or obligation to God which a man has incurred of his own free will (oaths, vows, etc.).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of dispensing or dealing out; distribution: as, the dispensation of royal favors; the dispensation of good and evil by Divine Providence.
  • n. A particular distribution of blessing or affliction dispensed by God to a person, family, community, or nation, in the course of his dealings with his creatures; that which is dispensed or dealt out by God: as, a sad dispensation; a merciful dispensation.
  • n. In theology: The method or scheme by which God has at different times developed his purposes, and revealed himself to man; or the body of privileges bestowed, and duties and responsibilities enjoined, in connection with that scheme or method of revelation: as, the old or Jewish dispensation; the new or Gospel dispensation. See grace.
  • n. A period marked by a particular development of the divine purpose and revelation: as, the patriarchal dispensation (lasting from Adam to Moses); the Mosaic dispensation (from Moses to Christ); the Christian dispensation.
  • n. Management; stewardship; an act or action as manager or steward.
  • n. A relaxation of the law in some particular case; specifically, a license granted (as by the pope or a bishop) relieving or exempting a person in certain circumstances from the action, obligations, or penalties of some law or regulation.

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

  • n. a share that has been dispensed or distributed
  • n. the act of dispensing (giving out in portions)
  • n. an exemption from some rule or obligation

Etymologies

Medieval Latin dispēnsātiō, dispēnsātiōn-, from Latin, distribution, management, from dispēnsātus, past participle of dispēnsāre, to distribute; see dispense.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
See dispense. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • From p. 23 of Patrick Leigh Fermor's "A Time to Keep Silence":

    This new dispensation left nineteen hours a day of absolute and god-like freedom.

    January 21, 2014