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-

Example Sentences

His face was disfigured by a scar. the statue was seriously disfigured by falling rubble during the earthquake
Recent Examples on the Web Those curled and disfigured leaves are caused by a fungus that thrives in humidity. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 May 2023 Fights about masks, social-distancing, quarantines, and closures of churches, parks, and other amenities disfigured the normal rhythm of human life, marring funerals and delaying weddings. The Editors, National Review, 28 Apr. 2023 The picture provided by the Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand (WFFT) depicts Pai Lin, a 71-year-old female whose spine has become disfigured after 25 years of working in the tourism industry, where she was forced to carry up to six tourists at a time. Heather Chen, CNN, 10 Mar. 2023 Since the ancient Egyptians believed one’s body had to be intact in order to pass into the next world, severing the right hand would have disfigured their enemies’ souls as well as their bodies, barring them from the afterlife. Byandrew Curry, science.org, 5 Apr. 2023 At least one suffered an injury that left her permanently disfigured. Seyward Darby, Longreads, 1 Mar. 2023 The cost of a year of warfare has been staggering: tens of thousands of people killed or maimed, millions driven from their homes, urban landscapes disfigured, desolate mass graves unearthed, the global economy jolted along with Europe’s entire security architecture. Los Angeles Times, 21 Feb. 2023 What’s available at the markets has always been at the whim of weather, but capricious has shifted into catastrophic as heatwaves, drought, flooding, cold fronts, and wildfires disfigure and destroy crops globally, from Ecuador to Ethiopia and all across the United States. Sara Tardiff, Vogue, 10 Sep. 2021 That, protesters say, is the point: To temporarily disfigure a treasured artwork and call out the people who would be more concerned about a painting than the planet. Alyssa Lukpat, WSJ, 24 Oct. 2022 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 6 Jun. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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