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Think of a sugar dispenser. It provides an equal "dose" of sugar every time you push its button.

In my native language, Bulgarian, we have a specific word for this kind of object. The literal "translation" of it would be "dosator"/"dosager". The general word 'dispenser' doesn't capture the fact that the dose is equal each time. So is there a precise word for this?

(I needed that kind of word for a metaphor in a class name in a computer program I'm writing)

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5 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The word “dispenser” does connote that the amount dispensed is measured and consistent. I think it may, in fact, be the word you’re looking for.

It probably doesn’t carry that meaning as strongly as your original word, but I don’t know of another English word that would serve that purpose any better.

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How about regulator:

A device that controls or limits something.

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I can come up with a few: Doser... Meter (from the verb "to mete", but might be too confused with the measurement).

I think Dispenser is accurate, actually. They usually dispense one unit of stuff at a time, e.g. one pill. Is there another word in Bulgarian for dispenser vs. "dosator"?

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My dictionary does list "doser" as the noun version, but gives no definition, so it isn't clear to me whether it is a person or a device (or both). I had never heard of that before, so it may be unfamiliar to many people. I agree that "dispenser" is probably the best choice. –  Jeffrey L Whitledge Oct 22 '10 at 21:02
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My OED lists two definitions for dispenser: 1 a person or thing that dispenses something (e.g. medicine, good advice. and 2 an automatic machine that that dispenses an item or a specific amount of something (e.g. cash).

So I think "dispenser" might be the word you're looking for, although I understand your reservations.

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Perhaps injector is the word you are looking for. I suspect it would depend on what is being administered and in what way, though.

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