dis·​sem·​ble | \ di-ˈsem-bəl How to pronounce dissemble (audio) \
dissembled; dissembling\ di-​ˈsem-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce dissembling (audio) \

Definition of dissemble

transitive verb

1 : to hide under a false appearance dissembling the facts
2 : to put on the appearance of : simulate She lay down and dissembled sleep.

intransitive verb

: to put on a false appearance : conceal facts, intentions, or feelings under some pretense He had dissembled about the risks involved.

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Other Words from dissemble

dissembler \ di-​ˈsem-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce dissembler (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

We don't have anything to hide: "dissemble" is a synonym of "disguise," "cloak," and "mask." "Disguise" implies a change in appearance or behavior that misleads by presenting a different apparent identity. "Cloak" suggests a means of hiding a movement or an intention. "Mask" suggests some often obvious means of hiding or disguising something. "Dissemble" (from Latin dissimulare, meaning "to hide or conceal") stresses the intent to deceive, especially about one's own thoughts or feelings, and often implies that the deception is something that would warrant censure if discovered.

Examples of dissemble in a Sentence

he dissembled happiness at the news that his old girlfriend was getting married—to someone else children learn to dissemble at a surprisingly early age
Recent Examples on the Web Those remarks, and attempts by senior administration officials to explain them, have fueled charges by Democratic lawmakers, and some Republicans, that the administration has dissembled in its justification for the killing. Karen Deyoung, Anchorage Daily News, "Senior Trump officials struggle to explain intelligence behind killing of Iranian general," 13 Jan. 2020 Everything so far has been dissembling, denial, pointing the finger somewhere else. Washington Post, "CEO will tell Congress that Boeing made mistakes on Max jet," 28 Oct. 2019 Brian Ott, a Texas Tech University communications professor, said Trump's tweets fall into three categories: dissembling, distracting or discrediting. USA Today, "Analysis: Trump more negative, prolific on Twitter amid Democratic impeachment inquiry," 23 Dec. 2019 No dissembling politicians would be arrested for their lies. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "Facebook and the “Free Speech” Excuse," 31 Oct. 2019 The animus of this chaotic novel would seem to be Rushdie’s abiding horror at the political ascension of a dissembling reality TV star. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Salman Rushdie’s ‘Quichotte’ is a shambling ‘Don Quixote’ for our deceptive era," 3 Sep. 2019 Apologists for the idea like to dissemble on this question by insisting that the records would be kept by third parties or that they would be decentralized. The Editors, National Review, "Against Universal Background Checks," 9 Aug. 2019 In the view of most Americans, the Lewinsky story, although pathetic and unnerving, never amounted to a case sufficient to justify Clinton’s removal from office, even when attached to Clinton’s dissembling under oath about the matter. Sean Wilentz, The New Yorker, "Nancy Pelosi, Impeachment, and Places in History," 11 July 2019 Instead the White House has disregarded these legitimate congressional inquiries and dissembled about basic facts. Alana Abramson, Time, "Congress Will Try Again to Learn What Trump and Putin Told Each Other," 24 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dissemble.' 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 dissemble

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dissemble

Middle English dissymblen, alteration of dissimulen, from Middle French dissimuler, from Latin dissimulare — more at dissimulate

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Time Traveler for dissemble

Time Traveler

The first known use of dissemble was in the 15th century

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Statistics for dissemble

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dissemble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissemble. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for dissemble


How to pronounce dissemble (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dissemble

formal + literary : to hide your true feelings, opinions, etc.

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