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

Thanks to this week's host Laura Dannen Redman, along with Travelogue regulars Alex Postman and Megan Spurrell, for dissecting the most exciting places to visit in 2019. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where We're Going in 2019: Travelogue Podcast," 8 Dec. 2018 Not so much for Scherzer, who unloaded an expletive after the ball fell in and then afterward was left to dissect where the Nationals go from here after falling a season-high seven games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Rick Porcello gets best of close friend Max Scherzer with bases-clearing double," 3 July 2018 In the wake of a news cycle that’s spent two weeks dissecting Kanye West’s public praise for Candace Owens and his trollish comments about slavery, the storyline feels prescient, to say the least. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Dear White People Is Both Timely and Timeless," 5 May 2018 Bloomberg’s Chris Condon joins from Washington to dissect the Fed minutes with host Ramy Inocencio. Randi Larson, Bloomberg.com, "Everything You Need to Know This Morning From Daybreak (Podcast)," 24 May 2017 Ever since Demi's apparent overdose, many have treated reports on her condition as juicy gossip, with some speculating on the circumstances surrounding her overdose and others dissecting her every post-rehab move. Vera Papisova, Teen Vogue, "Demi Lovato Reportedly Left Rehab. What Happens Now?," 5 Nov. 2018 One of the best strategies to defang the sting of criticism is to dissect it. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Handle Criticism," 9 Aug. 2018 Then, go through these thoughts, looking for patterns, really dissecting them. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Guide to Finding Your Self-Confidence and Dealing with Negative Thoughts," 7 Aug. 2018 Investors will dissect it immediately for clues on how aggressive the Fed will be in raising interest rates to forestall inflation. Washington Post, "Stocks glide higher again as Treasury yields ease," 26 Feb. 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

17 Jan 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 \
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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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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