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 dissect (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 Rubin can expertly dissect the work of The Beatles, Beethoven and Buddy Rich, and enjoys discussing the structural intricacies of their music. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Oct. 2021 Davenport led the daily meeting with precinct and detective bureau chiefs and commanders gather and dissect the past 24 hours of crime in the city, beat by beat, street by street. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 28 Sep. 2021 Riley will surely dissect all the issues and try to come up with a solution. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 26 Sep. 2021 Ahead of the brand’s landmark event, Billboard caught up with Max to further dissect his newfound life’s work as well as the unique hand the music industry has had in branching out his father’s dream in unimaginable ways. Megan Armstrong, Billboard, 2 July 2021 So it was left to local coaches to dissect the move. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, 2 July 2021 Which isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of minutiae within their performance to dissect. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 May 2021 Alas, the notion of disproportionate reactions to the original event, in a film opening 20 years after 9/11 no less, is something this overly reverential movie cannot dissect. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 Undulating hills perpetually capped with mist are blanketed by tropical forests, while serpentine rivers dissect the land, carrying away some of the highest rainfalls in the Amazonian region. Steph Dyson, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for dissect

Time Traveler

The first known use of dissect was in 1598

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Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dissect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissect. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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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 : analyze
: 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 dissect (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on dissect

Nglish: Translation of dissect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dissect for Arabic Speakers


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