dissociate

verb

dis·​so·​ci·​ate (ˌ)di-ˈsō-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce dissociate (audio)
-sē-
dissociated; dissociating

transitive verb

1
: to separate from association or union with another
attempts to dissociate herself from her past
2
: disunite
specifically : to subject to chemical dissociation

intransitive verb

1
: to undergo dissociation
2
: to mutate especially reversibly

Did you know?

Dissociate and its synonym disassociate can both mean "to separate from association or union with another." Associate is from Latin ad-, meaning "to," and sociare, meaning "to join." Dis- in this case means "do the opposite of," so both dissociate and disassociate indicate severing that which is united. Some commentators, however, argue that disassociate is illogical because it indicates separating and uniting simultaneously. Dissociate is slightly older, appearing in the late 16th century, whereas early evidence of disassociate is found in the beginning decade of the next century. Dissociate is recommended by a number of commentators on the basis that it is shorter, which it is by a grand total of two letters—not the firmest ground for an endorsement. Both words are in current good use, but disassociate is used more often in the U.S.

Examples of dissociate in a Sentence

The director has tried to dissociate himself from his earlier films. Why is the organization choosing to dissociate itself from its founder?
Recent Examples on the Web In the aftermath of 9/11, the gift seemed an unremarkable gesture from the secular leader of a predominantly Muslim country who was eager to dissociate Islam from terrorism. Nick Danforth, Foreign Affairs, 8 Feb. 2017 Athletes are used to dissociating from pain to play. J Wortham January Lavoy Krish Seenivasan David Mason, New York Times, 2 May 2024 Sweeney, Epic’s C.E.O., has the backstory of tech-founder lore—college dropout, headquarters in his parents’ basement, posture-ruining work ethic—and the stage presence of a spelling-bee contestant who’s dissociating. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 But as the family saga became featured in books, television series and documentaries and their notoriety grew, most institutions stripped the Sackler name from their properties and dissociated themselves from Purdue’s owners. Jan Hoffman, New York Times, 3 Dec. 2023 See all Example Sentences for dissociate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dissociate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin dissociatus, past participle of dissociare, from dis- + sociare to join, from socius companion — more at social

First Known Use

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dissociate was in 1582

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near dissociate

Cite this Entry

“Dissociate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissociate. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

dissociate

verb
dis·​so·​ci·​ate (ˈ)dis-ˈō-sē-ˌāt How to pronounce dissociate (audio)
-shē-
dissociated; dissociating
1
: to separate from association or union with another
2

Medical Definition

dissociate

verb
dis·​so·​ci·​ate (ˈ)dis-ˈō-s(h)ē-ˌāt How to pronounce dissociate (audio)
dissociated; dissociating

transitive verb

: to subject to chemical dissociation

intransitive verb

1
: to undergo dissociation
2
: to mutate especially reversibly

More from Merriam-Webster on dissociate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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