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

That postmodernist, Marxist framework remains the dominant method of dissecting subcultural aesthetics today. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "E-girls and e-boys, explained," 1 Aug. 2019 Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced investigation by Kaiser Health News and NPRthat dissects and explains medical bills. NBC News, "First kidney failure, then a $540,842 bill for dialysis," 25 July 2019 As a result, the border the Boundary Commission came up with resulted in settlements being dissected and villagers separated from their farmlands. Martin Plaut, Quartz Africa, "The glow of the historic accord between Ethiopia and Eritrea has faded," 9 July 2019 This Bill of the Month story is being republished with permission of Kaiser Health News, which crowdsources, dissects and explains medical bills in cooperation with NPR. Jon Hamilton, Dallas News, "Austin woman's spinal surgery brings back-breaking $94,000 bill a year later," 20 June 2019 The parties and campaigns are dissecting pictures in an effort to gain the upper hand. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Everything you need to know about Tuesday's Arizona special election for Congress," 22 Apr. 2018 These stories were considered major scandal at the time, so just imagine how they'd be reported and dissected in today's climate. Larry Dobrow, Woman's Day, "8 Outrageous Super Bowl Scandals," 3 Feb. 2011 New York’s other real-estate operators from the 1980s won’t have their tax dealings dissected by the Times. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "When the Fever Passes, Learn From Trump’s Taxes," 12 Oct. 2018 The Huskies ultimately send just two pass-rushers initially, with three linebackers (Burr-Kirven, Beavers and Ariel Ngata) waiting near the line of scrimmage to dissect the play. Adam Jude, The Seattle Times, "‘We know we’ve got way more to us’: UW defense rues missed chances on these three plays vs. Auburn," 4 Sep. 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

12 Sep 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

Comments on dissect

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


to spread over or through

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