Definition of dispensation in English:


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  • 1Exemption from a rule or usual requirement.

    ‘although she was too young, she was given special dispensation to play two matches’
    • ‘they were given a dispensation to take most of the first week off’
    • ‘She applied to the College for dispensation from the requirement to re-sit her failed assessments, on the grounds that she had been involved in a number of car accidents, and she was suffering financial hardship.’
    • ‘First of all I have to seek dispensation for compliance with rule 41.2.’
    • ‘His eyes glisten with unshed tears as he reaches the threshold of his release, desperate to rid himself of the unwanted pleasure but requiring Kenneth's dispensation to do so.’
    • ‘Sharon became quite passionate in her antagonism to single mothers who require special dispensation in order to be able to balance the demands of their children with those of work.’
    • ‘Check their Web sites for more detailed information before you sign up for anything requiring shots or special dispensation from the Azerbaijani embassy.’
    • ‘To get diamonds for this purpose from conflict zones will require special dispensation from organizations such as the United Nations, they say.’
    • ‘Clubs can apply for temporary dispensation of the League's rules in terms of having a 6,000 capacity or having 2,000 covered seats, as long as the club could guarantee the criteria would be met in the near future.’
    • ‘Those who can will be given permanent residency under existing rules; others will be given special dispensation.’
    • ‘The Ministry of Food even gave the railway special dispensation to operate its restaurant car without the requirement for food stamps.’
    • ‘Rules on taxation now include dispensation for charitable bodies or individuals engaged in charity.’
    • ‘Selling fireworks should be prohibited other than for the few days immediately before November 5, unless the authorities give special dispensation for other events.’
    • ‘But yesterday he said it was ‘a non-starter’ to apply to the prison authorities for special dispensation.’
    • ‘He explained that the Government has a national playing fields strategy that in short means schools or local authorities cannot sell any playing fields without getting special dispensation.’
    • ‘These days, although they're protected by the EU directive on the conservation of wild birds, a quota of 2,000 baby gannets can be harvested annually, by special dispensation of the Scottish executive.’
    • ‘City had to secure special dispensation from the Football League to sign Whitehead on a seven-day loan from Reading after on-loan Sunderland goalkeeper Michael Ingham picked up a shoulder injury’
    • ‘Unless Celtic are given special dispensation to register the midfielder for the New Year's Day game against Hearts at Tynecastle, Keane will not be eligible until the Scottish Cup tie away to Clyde the following weekend.’
    • ‘There has to be special dispensation for goalkeepers and the SFA have got to argue our case with Fifa.’
    • ‘However, yesterday Kennet's standards committee granted dispensation to four of the five parish councillors who declared an interest, which means they can now debate and vote on the planning application.’
    • ‘The Justice Department fought that order by requesting more time to appeal the decision, and special dispensation for its continuing interrogation of Mr. Padilla.’
    • ‘Industries now have to lobby and politicise to get dispensation.’
    exemption, immunity, exception, exclusion, exoneration, freedom, release, relief, reprieve, remission, relaxation, absolution
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    1. 1.1Permission to be exempted from the laws or observances of the Church.
      ‘he received papal dispensation to hold a number of benefices’
      • ‘Ordained as a priest, he received papal dispensation to pursue a career as an itinerant scholar and teacher, attaching himself to elite households and powerful printing firms throughout Europe.’
      • ‘Henry considered it seriously enough to get a papal bull giving him dispensation to bring the Irish into the Catholic fold.’
      • ‘As in other ordinations from other faiths, we had to have dispensation from the Pope for the ordination.’
      • ‘However, I ask this question: why did the church demand Mrs Shepherd do the full course and not give her dispensation for her years of training and study as a Reader in the Church of England, as well as her commitment and service?’
      • ‘I was fairly certain the priest had to grant the person a dispensation or not to release them from their obligation.’
  • 2A system of order, government, or organization of a nation, community, etc., especially as existing at a particular time.

    ‘scholarship is conveyed to a wider audience than under the old dispensation’
    • ‘British policy had developed in the early 1970s as a twin track of levying war and constructing a political dispensation.’
    • ‘Unless dialogue is allowed to be the hallmark, very little succeeds especially in political dispensations.’
    • ‘So within these four parameters, one needs to crystallize the political dispensation that one would like to have in Afghanistan.’
    • ‘She also argues for a reappraisal of the colonial past, and a transformation of the political dispensation in the future.’
    • ‘The political dispensation to follow will be either stable or colonial, but not both.’
    • ‘Under the new dispensation of the modern welfare state, with the big job-grinder going round and round, this does not happen.’
    • ‘The mistake committed was to audit books in terms of the old dispensation where cheque books were used for payments.’
    • ‘The negotiations for a new dispensation in South Africa that began in 1990 effectively brought an end to South Africa's policy of regional destabilization.’
    • ‘He added that the people are feeling insecure during the rule of present dispensation.’
    • ‘Prior to independence and before the partial democratic dispensation of the British the country had been ruled by absolute monarchy, stretched for centuries.’
    • ‘This new dispensation in turn required the expansion of the political nation to create a legitimate match of taxation and representation.’
    • ‘The temples were the preserve of classical arts till the arrival of Colonists whose dispensation, by definition, changed the rules of patronage.’
    • ‘US actions are forging a new legal dispensation in which their overarching global authority would be acknowledged.’
    • ‘In fact criticism is a necessary ingredient of any democratic dispensation as it helps to keep those in positions of authority in check.’
    • ‘Already the President has cut back on his motorcade; so too has the Prime Minister; and this should just be the start of what should be a far more modest dispensation which is in keeping with the country's coffers.’
    • ‘Mr. Gibbings cautioned, however, that media associations and territories that remained disorganized in the new dispensation would be hard pressed to benefit from the free movement of labour.’
    • ‘Being associated with the old world of fixed horizons and immutable laws, faith is treated as something incompatible with the new dispensation of limitless possibility and individual supremacy.’
    • ‘Ever since the present dispensation took over, ministers concerned have been trying to drive home the fact at every given opportunity that the elections due to the said institutions would be held as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Under the neo-liberal dispensation, then, what many people seem to yearn for is a world in which they are treated not as consumers or as dispensable cogs in an indifferent machine but as citizens and as human beings.’
    system, order, scheme, plan, arrangement, organization
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    1. 2.1(in Christian theology) a divinely ordained order prevailing at a particular period of history.
      ‘the Mosaic dispensation’
      • ‘We should now very briefly note that there is a fourth context in which Paul mentions the law, that of direct comparison between the dispensation of law and the dispensation of faith in Christ.’
      • ‘Throughout all dispensations, these have been the unchanging requirements for living in a covenant relationship with God.’
      • ‘Dispensationalists differ as to the number and extent of these dispensations.’
      • ‘The Bible teaches that this is the age or dispensation of the Spirit.’
      • ‘Third, the canon closed with the death of the apostles, has remained closed for over 1600 years, and Scripture gives us no reason to expect new revelation or any new dispensation.’
    2. 2.2 archaic An act of divine providence.
      ‘the laws to which the creator in all his dispensations conforms’
      • ‘‘Death,’ wrote Washington, ‘was leveling my companions on every side of me; but, by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected.’’
      • ‘The majority are already resigned to the dispensations of Providence.’
      • ‘Divine dispensation determined to honor her in this station so that, having scorned the king's servant, she came to be coupled with the king himself and bring forth royal children.’
      • ‘Rudyard Kipling hailed the ‘Imperial Fire of Rome’ as a divine dispensation that had fallen ‘on us, thy son.’’
      • ‘He believed that natural selection - or as in his own case, divine dispensation - would provide, and it seldom did.’
  • 3The action of distributing or supplying something.

    ‘regulations controlling dispensation of medications’
    • ‘As professionals, pharmacists should offer information on use and dispensation of medication, not their particular religious convictions.’
    • ‘As the controversies over dispensation of the western territories grew unavoidable, so the Jacksonian political alignments crumbled.’
    • ‘To this effect, it is imperative that Zambia takes stock of its investment in health infrastructure before originating grandiose plans on medical dispensation.’
    • ‘The point of the near-constant dispensation of lies, half-truths and irrelevancies is to create an atmosphere in which it becomes almost impossible to distinguish honesty from deception, fact from fantasy.’
    • ‘Bush indicated that the dispensation of the federal surplus for tax cuts is a top priority, and much of the nation seems to agree with him, despite his minority status.’
    • ‘The dispensation of the award for overtly political purposes is by no means unprecedented.’
    • ‘Last week by one of those strange political dispensations we accept from Cabinet overlords, he granted another million euro plus grant to his native constituency.’
    • ‘This is not an exception, all the prisons in the country has more remand prisoners than convict prisoners because of the delay in dispensation of justice.’
    • ‘For all that, his talent for logical argument, the dispensation of balanced advice and an understanding of politics superseded his talent for music, and he opted for a career in diplomacy, with music as an important sideline.’
    • ‘Physicians must learn to engage in gentle but direct truth-telling in the dispensation of their duty to patients who depend on them for accurate yet compassionate descriptions of their condition.’
    • ‘A young man in a bizarre and colorful outfit, with a makeshift bandolier in which plastic cups were tucked for rapid dispensation of his wares, observed my fascination and offered me a drink.’
    • ‘The UKCC has usefully categorized four stages in the therapeutic use of medicines: prescription, dispensation, administration, and patient acceptance.’
    distribution, provision, providing, supply, supplying, issue, issuing, passing round, passing out, giving out, handing out, dealing out, doling out, sharing out, dividing out, parcelling out
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/ˌdispənˈsāSH(ə)n/ /ˌdɪspənˈseɪʃ(ə)n/


Late Middle English from Latin dispensatio(n-), from the verb dispensare (see dispense).