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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Determined to make Alcott’s story fit their faddish social agendas, academics employ themselves by dissecting her masterpiece, ignoring her other works, and turning her into a fierce feminist. Sarah Schutte, National Review, "Louisa May Alcott: A Writer for All Ages," 22 Aug. 2019 Perhaps more than anyone on the 2019-20 Suns, Rubio – and his game – will be praised, dissected and scrutinized. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "Suns point guard Ricky Rubio wins FIBA World Cup MVP, gold medal with Spain," 15 Sep. 2019 There was no need to carefully dissect his performances and provide tactical breakdowns about his shortcomings. SI.com, "Henrikh Mkhitaryan & Alexis Sanchez: The Worst Swap Deal in Premier League History," 2 Sep. 2019 Auburn’s defenders have been preparing for Herbert for months now, dissecting film on the future first-round throughout the summer months and keying in on a gameplan over the last couple of weeks as the team turned its full attention to Oregon. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, oregonlive, "‘You want these types of matchups’: Auburn defense embracing meeting with Oregon QB Justin Herbert," 29 Aug. 2019 The show’s soap opera storylines and relentless romantic drama also speak, in particular, to a social media-savvy generation with an appetite for narratives which can be told, retold, dissected and exaggerated. Kate Samuelson, Time, "CBS Renewed Love Island Despite Lackluster Ratings. Can the Show Find its Happily Ever After in Season Two?," 12 Aug. 2019 Each episode was an event to be debated, dissected and quickly turned into glorious memes, which often were more entertaining than the show itself. Glenn Whipp, latimes.com, "Emmys 2019: Five things to watch for ahead of the nominations," 12 July 2019 Wise, a biologist and a professor at Roanoke College, had been in his campus lab methodically dissecting pieces of goldenrod and collecting the fly larvae that was burrowed within waiting to pupate and emerge, fully formed, into the world. Alicia Petska, Washington Post, "Roanoke College professor researches tiny flying larvae," 13 Sep. 2019 Some teams might prefer a seven-foot playmaker who can dissect a playoff series. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dissect

Statistics for dissect

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for dissect

The first known use of dissect was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dissect


How to pronounce dissect (audio) How to pronounce dissect (audio) How to pronounce dissect (audio)

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.
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dissect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dissect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!