dis·​sect | \ dī-ˈsekt How to pronounce dissect (audio) also di- How to pronounce dissect (audio) , ˈdī-ˌsekt How to pronounce dissect (audio) \
dissected; dissecting; dissects

Definition of dissect

transitive verb

1 : to separate into pieces : expose the several parts of (something, such as an animal) for scientific examination dissect an earthworm dissecting flowers
2 : to analyze and interpret minutely dissect a problem

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Other Words from dissect

dissector \ dī-​ˈsek-​tər also  di-​ How to pronounce dissector (audio) , ˈdī-​ˌsek-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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 (such 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

Examples of dissect in a Sentence

We dissected a frog in science class. She dissected each point of his argument. We dissected the poem in class. The city is dissected by a network of highways.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Are these creatures dead and being clinically dissected, one wonders, or alive and in immense pain? Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 Then consider the hot-and-cold quarterback, Joe Flacco, whose moves will be even more closely dissected given the presence of first-round quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Ravens bound to feel the heat of spotlight amid franchise's unrest," 12 June 2018 But the other four division favorites have had their problems—real or imagined—dissected repeatedly by onlookers. Michael Beller, SI.com, "The Table Setter: Reigning NL Division Winners Are Finally Starting to Play Like It," 11 June 2018 The fiasco has been dissected ad nauseam by outsiders including journalists, religious scholars and even a congressional committee, but of the nine Branch Davidians who survived the assault, only two have published memoirs. Julia Scheeres, New York Times, "An Audiobook Gives New Life to the Haunting Memoir of a Waco Survivor," 18 May 2018 This web site is where economists and economists-to-be anonymously discuss, debate, and dissect who’s hiring, who’s applying, and what visitors to the site think of the people on both sides of these transactions. Elizabeth Drew, New Republic, "Capital Offenses," 8 Feb. 2018 More funding for investigators devoted to dissecting foundations the way Fahrenthold and the AG’s office have would be a good start, and help deter more wrongdoing as more duplicitous foundations learn that they might get caught. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The Trump Foundation shows just how preposterously light our oversight of charity is," 20 Dec. 2018 With every detail dissected by Romeo, the list was officially cut to three — Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt — by November. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Recruiting Romeo Langford: Inside decisions regarding Kentucky basketball, UNC and others," 2 Apr. 2018 Any blow to the head is going to be dissected, reviewed and punished. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sharks’ woes mount: Kane suspended for Game 2," 27 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dissect.' 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 dissect

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dissect

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

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Statistics for dissect

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dissect

The first known use of dissect was in 1598

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More Definitions for dissect



English Language Learners 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


dis·​sect | \ di-ˈsekt How to pronounce dissect (audio) \
dissected; dissecting

Kids Definition of dissect

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


transitive verb
dis·​sect | \ dis-ˈekt; dī-ˈsekt How to pronounce dissect (audio) , ˈdī-ˌ How to pronounce dissect (audio) \

Medical Definition of dissect

: 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

intransitive verb

: to make a medical dissection

Other Words from dissect

dissector \ -​ər How to pronounce dissector (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on dissect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dissect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dissect

Spanish Central: Translation of dissect

Nglish: Translation of dissect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dissect for Arabic Speakers

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