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verb dis·sect \dī-ˈsekt also di-, ˈdī-ˌ\

Simple Definition of dissect

  • : to cut (a plant or dead animal) into separate parts in order to study it

  • : to study or examine (something) closely and carefully

  • : to divide (something) into parts

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of dissect

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to separate into pieces :  expose the several parts of (as an animal) for scientific examination

  3. 2 :  to analyze and interpret minutely <dissect a problem>

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to make a dissection

dissector play \-ˈsek-tər\ noun

Examples of dissect in a sentence

  1. We dissected a frog in science class.

  2. She dissected each point of his argument.

  3. We dissected the poem in class.

  4. The city is dissected by a network of highways.

Origin of dissect

Latin dissectus, past participle of dissecare to cut apart, from dis- + secare to cut — more at saw

First Known Use: 1598

Synonym Discussion of dissect

analyze, dissect, break down mean to divide a complex whole into its parts or elements. analyze suggests separating or distinguishing the component parts of something (as a substance, a process, a situation) so as to discover its true nature or inner relationships <analyzed the collected data>. dissect suggests a searching analysis by laying bare parts or pieces for individual scrutiny <commentators dissected every word of the speech>. break down implies a reducing to simpler parts or divisions <break down the budget>.

DISSECT Defined for Kids


verb dis·sect \di-ˈsekt\

Definition of dissect for Students


  1. :  to cut or take apart especially for examination <We dissected a flower in science class.>

Medical Dictionary

verb dis·sect \dis-ˈekt; dī-ˈsekt, ˈdī-ˌ\

Medical Definition of dissect

  1. :  to cut so as to separate into pieces or to expose the several parts of (as an animal or a cadaver) for scientific examination; specifically :  to separate or follow along natural lines of cleavage (as through connective tissue) <dissect out the regional lymph nodes> <a dissecting aneurysm>

  2. intransitive verb

  3. :  to make a medical dissection

dissector \-ər\play noun

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up dissect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to expose to danger or risk

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