Dispatch - Encyclopedia

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DISPATCH, or Despatch, to send off immediately, or by express; particularly in the case of the sending of official messages, or of the immediate sending of troops to their destination, or the like. The word is thus used as a substantive of written official reports of events, battles and the like, sent by ambassadors, generals, &c., by means of a special messenger, or of express correspondence generally. From the primary meaning of the prompt sending of a message, &c., the word is used of the quick disposal of business, or of the disposal of a person by violence; hence the word means to execute or murder. The etymology of the word has been obscured by the connexion with the Fr. depecher, and depeche, which are in meaning the equivalents of 1 The etymology of this word has been confused by the early adoption into English usage of the O. Fr. bordel. The two words are in origin quite distinct. Brothel is an O. Eng. word for a person, not a place. It meant an abandoned vagabond, one who had gone to ruin (abre'othan). Bordel, on the contrary, is a place, literally a small hut or shelter, especially for fornication, Med. Lat. bordellum, diminutive of the Late Lat. borda, board. The words were early confused, and brothel-house, bordel-house, bordel or brothel, are all used for a disorderly house, while bordel was similarly misused, and, like brothel in its proper meaning, was applied to a disorderly person.

the Eng. verb and substantive. The Fr. word is made up of the prefix de-, Lat. dis-, and the root which appears in empecher, to embarrass, and means literally to disentangle. The Lat. origin of depecher and empecher is a Low Lat. pedicare, pedica, a fetter. The Fr. word came into Eng. as depeach, which was in use from the 15th century until "despatch" was introduced. This word is certainly direct from the Ital. dispacciare, or Span. despachar, which must be derived from the Lat. root appearing in pactus, fixed, fastened, from pangere. The New English Dictionary finds the earliest instance of "dispatch" in a letter to Henry VIII. from Bishop Tunstall, commissioner to Spain in 1516-1517.

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