dispose of

Idioms & Phrases

dispose of

  1. Attend to, settle, deal with, as in He quickly disposed of the problem. [Early 1600s]

  2. Transfer, part with, as by giving away or selling. For example, They wanted to dispose of the land as soon as possible. [Second half of 1600s]

  3. Get rid of, throw out, as in Can we dispose of the trash in this barrel? Oliver Goldsmith had this idiom in She Stoops to Conquer (1773): "I'm disposing of the husband before I have secured the lover." [Mid-1600s]

  4. Kill or destroy; also, humorously, consume. For example, The king was determined to dispose of his enemies, or John disposed of the cake in no time. [Second half of 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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