Difference between Despatch and Dispatch

Key Difference: ‘Despatch’ is believed to have come from the Spanish word ‘despachar’, meaning “to send quickly” and ‘dispatch’ is believed to have evolved from Italian word ‘dispacciare’, meaning “to dispatch”. There is no difference between the two in terms of pronunciation or definition.

Coming across the word ‘despatch’, one automatically assumes that the word is probably spelled incorrectly and was overlooked during proofreading. However, the spelling of the word ‘despatch’ is actually correct. So, what is the difference between the two?

Nothing! That’s right, there is no difference between the two other than how it is spelled. Both the words are pronounced the same and even have the exact same meaning. So, why the different spelling?

‘Despatch’ is believed to a UK alternate spelling for the word ‘dispatch’ and was a fashionable way to write the word dispatched during the Victorian Period. Before that, the word can hardly be found anywhere. Another theory suggests that the spelling entered usage because of a printing error in Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755), which attributed to more people using ‘despatch’.

‘Despatch’ does stand apart from ‘dispatch’ as the word also refers to a lectern/rest and document boxes in the UK and Australian Parliamentary lingo. Another difference lies in etymology or how the word has evolved. ‘Despatch’ is believed to have come from the Spanish word ‘despachar’, meaning “to send quickly” and ‘dispatch’ is believed to have evolved from Italian word ‘dispacciare’, meaning “to dispatch”.

‘Dispatch’ is obviously the most used spelling compared to ‘despatch’ and Of the digital entries transcribed so far in an online version of the dictionary, ‘dispatch’ occurs 8 times to a singular occurrence of ‘despatch’ when used to define other words.

Comparison between Despatch and Dispatch:

 

Despatch

Dispatch

Definition

To hasten and send quickly something

Etymology

Is believed to have acquired from the Spanish word ‘despachar’ meaning “dispatch”.

Is believed to have origins in the Italian word ‘dispacciare’ meaning "to dispatch”.

Definition from The Oxford English Dictionary

  • The act of dispatching
  • The sending off (of a messenger, letter, etc.) on an errand or to a particular destination
  • Official dismissal or leave to go, given to an ambassador after completion of his errand
  • Dismissal (of a suitor, etc.) after settlement of business; attention to or settlement of the business (of a person)
  • Making away with by putting to death; killing; death by violence
  • The getting (of business, etc.) out of hand; settlement, accomplishment; (prompt or speedy) execution
  • Prompt settlement or speedy accomplishment of an affair
  • The act of getting rid (of something), by sale, etc.; riddance, clearance, disposal; the act of putting away hastily
  • A written message sent off promptly or speedily; spec. an official communication relating to public affairs, usually conveyed by a special messenger
  • An agency or organization for the expeditious transmission of goods, etc.; a conveyance or vessel by which goods, parcels, or letters are dispatched
  • A body of persons (officially) sent to a particular destination
  • The act of dispatching
  • The sending off (of a messenger, letter, etc.) on an errand or to a particular destination
  • Official dismissal or leave to go, given to an ambassador after completion of his errand
  • Dismissal (of a suitor, etc.) after settlement of business; attention to or settlement of the business (of a person)
  • Making away with by putting to death; killing; death by violence
  • The getting (of business, etc.) out of hand; settlement, accomplishment; (prompt or speedy) execution
  • Prompt settlement or speedy accomplishment of an affair
  • The act of getting rid (of something), by sale, etc.; riddance, clearance, disposal; the act of putting away hastily
  • A written message sent off promptly or speedily; spec. an official communication relating to public affairs, usually conveyed by a special messenger
  • An agency or organization for the expeditious transmission of goods, etc.; a conveyance or vessel by which goods, parcels, or letters are dispatched
  • A body of persons (officially) sent to a particular destination

Image Courtesy: accidental.com.au, dispatchny.com

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