dis·sect | \ dī-ˈsekt also di- , ˈdī-ˌ \

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 \-ˈsek-tər \ 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

The World Cup is entering its second week of group stage play, and while there have been a number of sensational goals and controversial moments to dissect and discuss, the tournament has also given us some lighthearted viral moments. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "6 delightful World Cup moments you may have missed," 21 June 2018 And fans, gamblers, writers, opinion-havers, whoever are left to dissect and compare and love or hate. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Did Justify have help from another horse at Belmont? That's nonsense," 11 June 2018 Heat Vision has spent time dissecting Enfys Nest and that cameo, but the truth is that most of those answers Solo provided were ... well, rather thin. Dan Gvozden, The Hollywood Reporter, "74 'Star Wars' Questions 'Solo' Insisted on Answering," 1 June 2018 His passion for telling the stories of how and why things are designed turned into a hit podcast called 99 Percent Invisible, which has dissected everything from skate parks to algorithms to how doctors break bad news to patients. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Don’t put podcasts behind a paywall, says 99 Percent Invisible host Roman Mars," 29 May 2018 So read on, and get ready to dissect the inevitable Oscar-contending film adaptation within an inch of its life. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, "Find out your pop culture horoscope for April," 12 Apr. 2018 Theirs has always been a fiery relationship, often dissected in the tabloids. New York Times, "Beyond TV and EVOO: Rachael Ray Looks for Her Next Act," 8 May 2018 However, the post has sparked an unlikely debate online, as Serena has become the subject of eyebrow-shaming, with users publicly dissecting them in the comments section. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Serena Williams Responds to Eyebrow Shaming Comments on Instagram," 4 May 2018 On the radio, a fleet of commentators dissect what Hillary Clinton is doing right in her landmark presidential campaign. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Can Barbie Really Have It All?," 1 May 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 2018

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 \
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 , ˈdī-ˌ \

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 \ noun

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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).


a magnificent or impressive array

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