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

Examples of dissolute in a Sentence

literature dealing with the dissolute and degrading aspects of human experience
Recent Examples on the Web But as evidence of the miscarriage of justice gradually came to light — including the identity of the actual traitor, a dissolute nobleman named Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy — more people joined Dreyfus’ cause. Maurice Samuels / Made By History, TIME, 21 May 2024 So when, in 680, Muawiya, the first caliph since Ali, died and the caliphate passed to his dissolute son, Yazid, the Shiat Ali implored Hussein to take his rightful place at the head of Islam. Aatish Taseer, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 Enter an unlikely duo, called in by their governments to investigate: Adam, a gruff American super-soldier, and Rao, a dissolute former British intelligence officer with a talent for detecting falsehoods — unless Adam is telling them. Sophia Nguyen, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2023 Players believed that Senet revealed what obstacles lay ahead, warned dissolute souls of their fiery fates, and offered reassurance of the deceased’s eventual escape from the underworld, as represented by successfully moving one’s pieces off the board. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Feb. 2020 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

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

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 17 Jun. 2024.

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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