1. The act of dispensing or dealing out; distribution; often used of the distribution of good and evil by god to man, or more generically, of the acts and modes of his administration. To respect the dispensations of providence. (Burke)
2. That which is dispensed, dealt out, or appointed; that which is enjoined or bestowed; especially, a system of principles, promises, and rules ordained and administered; scheme; economy; as, the patriarchal, mosaic, and Christian dispensations. Neither are gods methods or intentions different in his dispensations to each private man. (Rogers)
3. The relaxation of a law in a particular case; permission to do something forbidden, or to omit doing something enjoined; specifically, in the roman Catholic Church, exemption from some ecclesiastical law or obligation to god which a man has incurred of his own free will (oaths, vows, etc). A dispensation was obtained to enable dr. Barrow to marry. (Ward)
Origin: f. Dispensation, L. Dispensatio.