verb dis·sect \ dī-ˈsekt also di- , ˈdī-ˌ \
|Updated on: 4 Jul 2018

Definition of dissect

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


play \-ˈsek-tər\ noun

Examples of dissect in a Sentence

  1. We dissected a frog in science class.

  2. She dissected each point of his argument.

  3. We dissected the poem in class.

  4. The city is dissected by a network of highways.

Recent Examples of dissect from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of dissect

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

DISSECT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of dissect for English Language Learners

  • : 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

DISSECT Defined for Kids


verb dis·sect \ di-ˈsekt \

Definition of dissect for Students

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

Medical Dictionary


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
: to make a medical dissection


play \-ər\ noun

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