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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 Anna hemmed and hawed and dissembled and prevaricated and, as the women got increasingly angry, allowed two fat tears to roll down her cheeks. Jessica Pressler, The Cut, "Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It," 28 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dissemble

Listen to Our Podcast about dissemble

Statistics for dissemble

Last Updated

2 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dissemble

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dissemble



English Language Learners Definition of dissemble

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!