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[dis-burs] /dɪsˈbɜrs/
verb (used with object), disbursed, disbursing.
to pay out (money), especially for expenses; expend.
to distribute or scatter:
Our troops were disbursed over a wide area. She disbursed the flowers to the children.
1520-30; < Middle French desbourser, Old French desborser, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -borser, derivative of borse purse < Late Latin bursa bag
Related forms
disbursable, adjective
disburser, noun
nondisbursable, adjective
nondisbursed, adjective
redisburse, verb (used with object), redisbursed, redisbursing.
undisbursed, adjective
well-disbursed, adjective
Can be confused
disburse, disperse.
1. lay out. See spend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for disburse
  • In other words, bring in taxes and then disburse the money they have gathered up.
  • Marshals must account for all money they receive and disburse.
  • It's possible that you may have an ear infection or a buildup of fluid that failed to disburse from your ear after landing.
  • disburse monies due employees, vendors, taxing jurisdictions and taxpayers.
  • Collect, record and disburse fees and fines in accordance with statute, court orders and policy.
  • The board shall prosecute any such proceeding to final determination and shall disburse the funds finally paid over to it.
  • disburse no more than that which the recipient is eligible to receive per payment period.
  • The higher education coordinating board shall disburse state work-study funds.
British Dictionary definitions for disburse


(transitive) to pay out
Derived Forms
disbursable, adjective
disbursement, noun
disburser, noun
Usage note
Disburse is sometimes wrongly used where disperse is meant: the police used a water cannon to disperse (not disburse) the crowd
Word Origin
C16: from Old French desborser, from des-dis-1 + borser to obtain money, from borse bag, from Late Latin bursa
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for disburse
1520s, from O.Fr. desbourser (13c.), from des- "dis-" + bourse "purse" (see bursar). Related: Disbursed.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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