Even if you already know the word “dispense,” it’s worthy of your consideration: you might be able to use it (and its related forms) more flexibly.

It has Latin roots that literally mean “to pay out.”

When you dispense things, you hand them out in sections, in an official way, as if you’re in charge of the entire supply of those things.

Over time, the word “dispense” has taken on different meanings, from “officially hand out” to “officially make an arrangement” to “officially grant an exception to a rule.” So, today, to dispense with something (often a rule, a law, or a requirement) is to get rid of it because it’s not needed.

diss PENTS

Part of speech:
Verb, usually the transitive kind: “they dispense prescription drugs,” “they dispense good advice.”
(And the intransitive kind when you say “dispense with,” as in “to dispense with this payment” or “let’s dispense with that theory.”)

Other common forms:
dispensed, dispensing, dispenser(s), dispensation;
dispensable, indispensable; dispensability, indispensability

How to use it:

Dispense” is one of those sturdy, formal, infinitely useful verbs. It can take the place of vague or wimpy expressions like “hand out,” “give out,” and “carry out.”

Talk about things and people that dispense literal things, like fuel, soda, candy, or medicine–or figurative things, like advice, wisdom, favors, judgment, or justice.

Things we often dispense with (that is, set aside, or do away with) include rules, penalties, traditions, pretenses, formalities, expectations, processes, technologies. Basically, if you normally do it, have it, say it, or use it, but this time you’re deciding not to, you’ve dispensed with it.

And when you need a formal, emphatic word meaning “essential” or “necessary,” try indispensable.” Talk about indispensable people and their indispensable work and contributions; indispensable information, resources, and technologies; indispensable knowledge and insights, etc.

“The restaurant’s popular ‘sake school’ flights, a rotating, seasonally oriented selection dispensed by one of the restaurant’s cheerful servers, provides an intoxicating education.”
— Patricia Escarcega, The Los Angeles Times, 28 March 2019

“Early surrealist comedy is found in the satirical and comedic elements of works of modern authors, who, like Lear and Carroll, wrote stories which dispensed with the normal rules of logic.”
— World Heritage Encyclopedia entry on “Surreal Humor”