1 A donation to charity. These are often recorded on charity‐boards in the towers or porches of parish churches (see historic churches). Some churches retain their dole‐cupboards in which bread was kept for distribution to the poor. This sense is preserved in the expression ‘on the dole’.
2 A division of the common meadows, shared out annually by rotation or by lot. The name is sometimes preserved in minor place‐names and in the expression ‘to dole out’.