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

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 One of the most deliciously long-simmering rivalries in the history of Hollywood is dissected in Ryan Murphy's Feud: Bette and Joan, starring Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon (above), premiering March 5. Nancy Bilyeau, Town & Country, "The Real-Life Drama That Inspired Feud: Bette and Joan," 23 Feb. 2017 Both actresses spoke of their delight in discovering the musical and of their admiration for Sher, whose breathless two-week process included two full days of table work spent dissecting and discussing the meaning of the text. Ian Malone, Vogue, "Camelot Ruled the Stage at Lincoln Center Theater’s Benefit Gala," 5 Mar. 2019 Hare was released and Burke’s corpse was publicly dissected. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Complete History of the Autopsy," 26 Dec. 2018 These things have been dissected so much ad nauseam, and overanalyzed. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Nolan Arenado is tired of losing. Will he have to leave the Rockies to win?," 1 July 2018 After over a decade in the limelight, Kylie Jenner knows that a celebrity's every social media post is dissected, analyzed, and ripped apart. refinery29.com, "Kylie Jenner's Father's Day Tribute To Caitlyn Jenner Faces Backlash," 18 June 2018 The balls were dropped from various heights to determine their bounciness; their cores were dissected; their stitches were pulled. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "The Home Runs Keep Increasing, But Are the Baseballs Different After All?," 29 May 2018 Her routine has been dissected, commented on, examined, praised and trashed in hundreds of articles by seemingly everyone with a keyboard. Travis M. Andrews, chicagotribune.com, "Michelle Wolf: 'I wouldn't change a single word' of White House correspondents' dinner comedy set," 30 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 Apr 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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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