Pronunciation: (dis"pun-sā'shun, -pen-), [key]
1. an act or instance of dispensing; distribution.
2. something that is distributed or given out.
3. a certain order, system, or arrangement; administration or management.
4. Theol.
a. the divine ordering of the affairs of the world.
b. an appointment, arrangement, or favor, as by God.
c. a divinely appointed order or age: the old Mosaic, or Jewish, dispensation; the new gospel, or Christian, dispensation.
5. a dispensing with, doing away with, or doing without something.
6. Rom. Cath. Ch.
a. a relaxation of law in a particular case granted by a competent superior or the superior's delegate in laws that the superior has the power to make and enforce: a dispensation regarding the Lenten fast.
b. an official document authorizing such a relaxation of law.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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