dis·​fig·​ure dis-ˈfi-gyər How to pronounce disfigure (audio)
 especially British  -ˈfi-gə
disfigured; disfiguring; disfigures

transitive verb

: to impair (as in beauty) by deep and persistent injuries
a face disfigured by smallpox
obsolete : disguise
dis-ˈfi-gyər-mənt How to pronounce disfigure (audio)
 especially British  -ˈfi-gə-

Examples of disfigure in a Sentence

His face was disfigured by a scar. the statue was seriously disfigured by falling rubble during the earthquake
Recent Examples on the Web After countless skin grafts and surgeries it had been saved, but had left her slightly disfigured in that area. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 5 Sep. 2023 An hour after the phone conversation, Misha, his nose disfigured and with a bruise over half his face, arrived at Marya Akimovna’s on Delegatskaya Street. Lyudmila Ulitskaya, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 The veteran, whom The Post could not locate, received a beating that year that left his face temporarily disfigured, Watts said. Steve Thompson, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2023 At their worst, the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can leave lasting damage, disrupt key bodily functions, or permanently disfigure a patient. Angus Chen, STAT, 15 Aug. 2023 When a fight ends with her husband dead and Julien disfigured, the lover undergoes reconstructive surgery to look like the husband and hide the murder. Marta Balaga, Variety, 17 July 2023 He had been beaten and disfigured and could be identified only by a ring on his finger. George Petras, USA TODAY, 25 July 2023 Our democracy would be disfigured at best and at worst destroyed. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 17 July 2023 For his troubles, he was tortured and disfigured by regime security services, losing a kidney. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disfigure.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French desfigurer, from des- dis- + figure figure

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of disfigure was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near disfigure

Cite this Entry

“Disfigure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disfigure. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​fig·​ure dis-ˈfig-yər How to pronounce disfigure (audio)
 especially British  -ˈfig-ər
: to spoil the appearance of
disfigured by a scar
disfigurement noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disfigure

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