My little pedantic friend introduced me a word, disbursement, saying it is his way of expressing a word, expense. I asked him the difference between them, but he could not answer it... What is the difference between them? Is it just a fancier expression?

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  • 3
    Have you checked dictionary definitions? If so, why did they not help? – Marv Mills Dec 16 '15 at 12:21
  • 1
    @Yunhee Try using a dictionary. – BillJ Dec 16 '15 at 12:29
  • Everyone should have a little pedantic friend. +1 for that reference. – Hugh Dec 16 '15 at 14:13
  • The result of a disbursement is that your bank account balance decreases (or you have less bank notes in your wallet). The reason for disbursement may be an expense, but also a deposit, a loan, a transfer to another account, etc. – Graffito Dec 16 '15 at 20:37
  • @Graffito Wow, your explanation is way more helpful than dictionaries or accounting books. I want to boast in front of him, really...But I won't do that. Anyway, thanks! – Yunhee Dec 16 '15 at 23:59

They are not the same. Disbursement has a more specific meaning and refers to a process of paying money from a fund (collected for a particular purpose):

  1. an amount of money that is paid from a fund
  2. the process of paying money from a fund



A disbursement is spent money that has been, well, dispersed. An expense is a reason to spend money on something that is, well, expensive.


The cost required for something; the money spent on something.




A noun that describes the spending or distributing of money


They can mean the same thing. But they can be as different as a $50 bill and a bill for $50.

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