c. 1400, dispellen, "drive off or away," from Latin dispellere "drive apart," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + pellere "to drive, push" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive"). Since the meaning is "to drive away in different directions" it should not have as an object a single, indivisible thing (you can dispel suspicion, but not an accusation). Related: Dispelled; dispelling.
updated on October 13, 2021
Dictionary entries near dispel