de·​con·​struc·​tion | \ ˌdē-kən-ˈstrək-shən How to pronounce deconstruction (audio) \

Definition of deconstruction

1 : a philosophical or critical method which asserts that meanings, metaphysical constructs, and hierarchical oppositions (as between key terms in a philosophical or literary work) are always rendered unstable by their dependence on ultimately arbitrary signifiers also : an instance of the use of this method a deconstruction of the nature–culture opposition in Rousseau's work
2 : the analytic examination of something (such as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy

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Did You Know?

Deconstruction doesn't actually mean "demolition;" instead it means "breaking down" or analyzing something (especially the words in a work of fiction or nonfiction) to discover its true significance, which is supposedly almost never exactly what the author intended. A feminist may deconstruct an old novel to show how even an innocent-seeming story somehow depends on the oppression of women. A new western may deconstruct the myths of the old West and show lawmen as vicious and criminals as flawed but decent. Table manners, The Sound of Music, and cosmetics ads have all been the subjects of deconstructionist analysis. Of course, not everyone agrees with deconstructionist interpretations, and some people reject the whole idea of deconstruction, but most of us have run into it by now even if we didn't realize it.

Examples of deconstruction in a Sentence

a lengthy deconstruction of the president's speech by a panel of pundits

Recent Examples on the Web

Design camp structures for easy construction/deconstruction, reuse, storage or salvage. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Back to the playa: Burning Man 2019 brings images of fire and fun," 28 Aug. 2019 But these false memories only point up the enduring shock value of Hendrix’s deconstruction of our national anthem. Robert Christgau, Los Angeles Times, "Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Star Spangled Banner’ is the anthem we need in the age of Trump," 13 Aug. 2019 According to Mundell, Community Forklift did 42 deconstruction jobs in 2018 and 25 so far this year. Teresa L. Carey, Smithsonian, "How Women Are Leading the Charge to Recycle Whole Houses," 25 July 2019 Dadu focuses on texture, often through unexpected materials and whimsical methods of deconstruction and re-assembly. Meara Sharma, Vogue, "Why I Am Taking the Sari Back to the Street," 30 Apr. 2019 Connell channels his passion toward advocating for the deconstruction and reuse industry. Teresa L. Carey, Smithsonian, "How Women Are Leading the Charge to Recycle Whole Houses," 25 July 2019 Now, Portland homes built before 1916 must be evaluated for deconstruction. Teresa L. Carey, Smithsonian, "How Women Are Leading the Charge to Recycle Whole Houses," 25 July 2019 The panel members proceed to do their usual deconstruction of the song with a real-time jam session. Robbie Daw, Billboard, "'Songland' Recap: Aloe Blacc Hunts For a 'Hobbs & Shaw' Soundtrack Anthem," 3 July 2019 His works are all about experimentation -- the amalgamation of sonic and visual arts and the deconstruction of instruments' mechanisms and physicality. Karla Cripps, CNN, "Meet the rebel Thai composer taking music to unheard heights," 10 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deconstruction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deconstruction

1973, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deconstruction

French déconstruction, from dé- de- + construction

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Statistics for deconstruction

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for deconstruction

The first known use of deconstruction was in 1973

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English Language Learners Definition of deconstruction

technical : a theory used in the study of literature or philosophy which says that a piece of writing does not have just one meaning and that the meaning depends on the reader

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Comments on deconstruction

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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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