dis·​sem·​ble | \ di-ˈsem-bəl How to pronounce dissemble (audio) \
dissembled; dissembling\ -​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 \ -​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 Originally from a remote town in Siberia and a graduate of American University, Butina learned to assemble and dissemble Kalashnikovs as part of a school first-aid class, her family revealed in an interview with NBC News in January. Patrick Smith, NBC News, "Russian operative Maria Butina set for deportation after prison release," 25 Oct. 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 Instead, the White House has disregarded these legitimate congressional inquiries and dissembled about basic facts. NBC News, "Cummings demands details on 2017 Trump-Putin meeting," 24 June 2019 Instead, the White House has disregarded these legitimate congressional inquiries and dissembled about basic facts. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Democrats still working to get Trump-Putin translator notes," 24 June 2019 Three federal trial judges have ruled that the evidence in the record demonstrates that Mr. Ross was dissembling. New York Times, "Census Fight Grows as House Panel Backs Contempt and Trump Asserts Privilege," 12 June 2019 Under those faintly menacing tendrils, people change, become furtive, dissembling, with it, rotten as the jungles whence come the plants. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "SF’s Interval puts the fern bar on a cocktail menu," 20 June 2018

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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Statistics for dissemble

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for dissemble

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

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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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Comments on dissemble

What made you want to look up dissemble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a calculated move

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