administer


administer
administer, dispense come into comparison because they are used in certain idiomatic phrases, similar in wording but not always equivalent in meaning, such as administer justice or dispense justice; administer a medicine or dispense medicine; administer a sacrament or dispense the Sacrament. Both words imply an acting on the behalf of another in or as if in the capacity of a steward.
Distinctively administer denotes to manage, supervise, or conduct the affairs of another while dispense denotes to deal out in portions or equitably to recipients. These divergent significations are often lost and the words used interchangeably especially when the object of the verb is an abstraction such as justice or charity
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the citizens disliked the rule of William on account of the strict justice which he administeredFreeman

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these be the sort to dispense justice. They know the land and the customs of the land— Kipling

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In reference to a sacrament administer means to perform the rites and duties prescribed for its proper observance and may be used of any of the sacraments; dispense, in contrast, is used only of the Eucharist and retains its underlying implication of dealing out in portions. The two words when used in reference to medicine are precisely distinguished. One administers a medicine when he gives the prescribed dose directly to the patient; one dispenses medicines when he compounds them according to the prescription of the physician. Similarly, one administers a blow or a rebuke when he deals it out directly to the individual. Dispense, in comparable phrases, retains its implication of distribution; one dispenses advice when he metes it out to those who in his opinion need it; one dispenses alms when he manages their distribution.

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • administer — ad·min·is·ter /əd mi nə stər/ vb is·tered, is·ter·ing vt 1: to manage the affairs of (as a government or agency) 2 a: to direct or supervise the execution, use, or conduct of administer a trust fund b: to settle (an estate) under a court appoin …   Law dictionary

  • administer — ad‧min‧is‧ter [ədˈmɪnstə ǁ ər] verb [transitive] 1. COMMERCE to manage, organize, and control something and make sure it is dealt with correctly: • A new national fund will be administered by the insurance industry. • the bureaucrats who… …   Financial and business terms

  • Administer — Ad*min is*ter, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Administered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Administering}.] [OE. aministren, OF. aministrer, F. administer, fr. L. administrare; ad + ministrare to serve. See {Minister}.] 1. To manage or conduct, as public affairs; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • administer — administer, administrate For many centuries, the normal word corresponding to administration and meaning ‘to manage (affairs)’ has been administer • (The Rezzoris were minor Austrian gentry administering the outposts of empire London Review of… …   Modern English usage

  • administer — [v1] manage an organization or effort administrate, be in the driver’s seat*, be in the saddle*, boss*, carry out, conduct, control, crack the whip*, direct, execute, govern, head, head up*, hold the reins*, oversee, pull the strings*, pull the… …   New thesaurus

  • administer — [ad min′is tər, ədmin′istər] vt. [ME aministren < OFr aministrer < L administrare < ad , to + ministrare, to serve] 1. to manage or direct (the affairs of a government, institution, etc.) 2. to give out or dispense, as punishment or… …   English World dictionary

  • Administer — Ad*min is*ter, v. i. 1. To contribute; to bring aid or supplies; to conduce; to minister. [1913 Webster] A fountain . . . administers to the pleasure as well as the plenty of the place. Spectator. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) To perform the office of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Administer — Ad*min is*ter, n. Administrator. [Obs.] Bacon. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • administer to — index accommodate, assist, bequeath, care (regard), concern (care), serve (assist) …   Law dictionary

  • administer — (v.) late 14c., administren, aministren to manage as a steward, from O.Fr. amenistrer help, aid, be of service to (12c., Mod.Fr. administrer, the d restored 16c.), and directly from L. administrare manage, control, guide, superintend; rule direct …   Etymology dictionary


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