dis·​so·​lute ˈdi-sə-ˌlüt How to pronounce dissolute (audio)
: lacking restraint
especially : marked by indulgence in things (such as drink or promiscuous sex) deemed vices (see vice entry 1 sense 1)
leading a dissolute lifestyle
the dissolute and degrading aspects of human nature Wallace Fowlie
dissolutely adverb
dissoluteness noun

Example Sentences

literature dealing with the dissolute and degrading aspects of human experience
Recent Examples on the Web Banks’ wintry, autobiographical sixth novel turns on the lifelong conflict between a dissolute New Hampshire police officer and his son. Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times, 8 Jan. 2023 Probability first entered the teachings of men through the work of that dissolute gambler Pascal, who was willing to make a bet on his salvation. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 16 Nov. 2011 Russian propagandists are doing exactly that, right now, etching a picture of a virtuous, beleaguered country defending itself against meddlesome and dissolute international adversaries. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2022 West is cut from the finest of rakish Duke cloths, a dissolute drunk, gambler, and brawler, until the love of a good woman brings him to his knees. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 17 Nov. 2022 What haunts the household in this classic of 19th century realism isn’t so much the spirit of the dead, dissolute patriarch, Captain Alving, as the tonnage of family secrets buried in the bad faith and moribund morality of a shameful past. Charles Mcnulty, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2022 Mary Nevins eloped at 19 with Jamie Blaine, the dissolute 17-year-old son of the former senator and secretary of state, James G. Blaine. Barbara Spindel, WSJ, 16 Aug. 2022 Her mother, Cora, a travelling nurse with an artistic streak, divorced her children’s dissolute father in 1901. Maggie Doherty, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 And Queen Victoria was just 18, a fresh girl-queen and a fresh start after a generation of dissolute royal men who spent like wastrels and fathered more illegitimate children than legitimate ones. Los Angeles Times, 4 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dissolute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin dissolutus, from past participle of dissolvere to loosen, dissolve

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dissolute was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near dissolute

Cite this Entry

“Dissolute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissolute. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​so·​lute ˈdis-ə-ˌlüt How to pronounce dissolute (audio)
: having or showing bad morals or behavior
dissolutely adverb
dissoluteness noun

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