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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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for disbursed
  • Money corrupts, and there is lots of money being disbursed and taken by big pharma.
  • Because of the local nature of communication it has by definition been narrow disbursed, but less so today.
  • For each activity the bank lists the number and amounts of loans disbursed.
  • Then that money gets funneled around and ends up being taxed as it's being disbursed yet again.
  • The only way to control this is through exchange controls or withholding taxes on interest disbursed to foreigners.
  • Uncertainty about whether the rest of the loan will be disbursed is causing jitters.
  • Half the food and about a third of the medical aid has yet to be disbursed and is now frozen.
  • The convenience of instant deposit, even if the money is later disbursed to other accounts, must have been alluring.
  • One guide might be the net present value of future tax payments, minus the net costs of public services disbursed there.
  • But less than half of that has been disbursed, and a big chunk has gone on debt relief rather than fresh funds.
British Dictionary definitions for disbursed


(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 disbursed



1520s, disbourse, from Old French desbourser (13c.) "extract (money) from a purse, spend (money)," from des- (see dis-) + bourse "purse" (see bursar). Related: Disbursed; disbursing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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