dis·​solve | \di-ˈzälv, -ˈzȯlv also -ˈzäv or -ˈzȯv \

Definition of dissolve 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to disperse or disappear : destroy do not dissolve and deface the laws of charity— Francis Bacon

b : to separate into component parts : disintegrate dissolved the company into smaller units

c : to bring to an end : terminate the king's power to dissolve parliament their partnership was dissolved

d law : annul dissolve an injunction the marriage was dissolved

2a chemistry : to cause to pass into solution (see solution sense 2b) dissolve sugar in water dissolve a chlorine tablet

b : melt, liquefy The heat will dissolve the chocolate.

c : to cause to be emotionally moved (see move entry 1 sense transitive 5a) She was dissolved in tears.

d : to cause to fade in or out in a dissolve (see dissolve entry 2)

3 archaic : detach, loosen

4 : to clear up : to find a solution, explanation, or answer for dissolve a problem

intransitive verb

1a : to become dissipated (see dissipate sense 1) or decomposed the mist … dissolved as it touched the valleys— Han Suyin

b : break up, disperse The temporary committee will be made to dissolve.

c : to fade away His strength had dissolved.

2a : to become fluid : melt glaciers dissolving into the sea

b chemistry : to pass into solution Salt dissolves in water.

c : to be overcome emotionally He dissolved into tears.

d : to resolve itself as if by dissolution hate dissolved into fear

e : to change by a dissolve The scene dissolves to a Victorian parlor.



Definition of dissolve (Entry 2 of 2)

: a gradual superimposing of one motion-picture or television shot upon another on a screen

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Other Words from dissolve


dissolvable \-​ˈzäl-​və-​bəl, -​ˈzȯl-​ \ adjective
dissolvent \-​ˈzäl-​vənt, -​ˈzȯl-​ \ noun or adjective
dissolver noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dissolve

Synonyms: Verb

dematerialize, disappear, evanesce, evaporate, fade, flee, fly, melt, sink, vanish

Antonyms: Verb

appear, materialize

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Examples of dissolve in a Sentence


Dissolve the tablet in water. Hopes for peace dissolved in renewed violence. His kind words dissolved her sadness. The treatment is used to dissolve kidney stones.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Customs Service has long since been dissolved and its investigative functions have been reassigned to ICE. Shawn Musgrave, The Verge, "How ICE used an obscure rule to pursue the owners of a Korean porn site," 27 Sep. 2018 Use a muddler to break sugar cube, then muddle until sugar is almost all dissolved. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Thinking Cap Cocktail," 17 Aug. 2018 The New York Knicks will be dissolved, Madison Square Garden razed, and salt sown into 33rd Street earth for 1,000 years. Michael Powell, New York Times, "The East Has Fallen Off the Map," 3 July 2018 An early Mystics lead dissolved to a six-point deficit by halftime, but Washington fought back to make the game close down to the end. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "Capitals Fans Take in Washington Mystics Game Before Stanley Cup Watch Party," 8 June 2018 The parliament was dissolved after an April 30 deadline to hold polls had lapsed. Eric Mbog Batassi, Bloomberg.com, "Gabon’s President Reappoints Issoze-Ngondet as Prime Minister," 3 May 2018 But within a few months, the trade council was dissolved, and Navarro found himself in a kind of White House purgatory. Don Lee, latimes.com, "Steel tariffs bring vindication for Trump's feisty trade advisor Peter Navarro," 10 Mar. 2018 Cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture has reduced by one-third, using a metal ruler or handle of a wooden spoon as a gauge. Lisa Ludwinski, WSJ, "Pies That Bind: Thanksgiving Recipes From the Heartland," 15 Nov. 2018 In a saucepan on low, gently heat superfine sugar and 2 cups heavy cream until sugar has dissolved, then bring to a simmer and simmer 1 minute. Anna Helm Baxter, Woman's Day, "Meyer Lemon Posset," 16 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Daiquiri #1 Make rich simple syrup: In a pot over medium heat, stir together 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water until sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Kara Newman, WSJ, "Shake Up the Daiquiri for Fall," 27 Sep. 2018 Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliator, like my favorite Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid, which uses gentle acids to dissolves dead skin cells, oils, and gunk from your pores. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Broken Capillaries: How to Get Rid of Them Fast," 18 Apr. 2017 The first half of the novella is largely composed of prose of the Romantic type—heirloom turns of phrase that at length dissolve into something else. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "Longing, Violence and Social Rank," 25 May 2018 Watch his practice two days before the big game dissolve into a snowball fight, freshmen-sophomores vs. juniors-seniors. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Alliance of American football coach Rick Neuheisel's deep connections to Tempe, Arizona," 18 May 2018 At one point, the three dissolve into laughter when the complex intricacy gets the better of them. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Ballet’s John Lam is set to soar in dances from Balanchine to Bournonville," 10 May 2018 Cook while stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and turns golden brown. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Where to pick peaches in Central Florida," 16 Apr. 2018 Stir with heatproof rubber spatula over medium-low heat until steaming and gelatin dissolves. Woman's Day, "Lemon Creams with Strawberries," 1 Feb. 2012 Cream cheese hard sauce Make about 1 cup 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) 1/2 pound powdered sugar (1-1/2 cups) 1/4 cup rum 2 ounces cream cheese Cream butter and gradually add sugar over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolves. Ann Maloney, NOLA.com, "King cake leftovers? Make bread pudding, trifle and cake pops," 6 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dissolve.' 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 dissolve


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1916, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dissolve


Middle English, from Latin dissolvere, from dis- + solvere to loosen — more at solve


see dissolve entry 1

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Statistics for dissolve

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dissolve

The first known use of dissolve was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for dissolve



English Language Learners Definition of dissolve

of something solid : to mix with a liquid and become part of the liquid

: to officially end (something, such as a marriage, organization, or agreement)

: to end or disappear or cause (something) to end or disappear


dis·​solve | \di-ˈzälv \
dissolved; dissolving

Kids Definition of dissolve

1 : to become part of a liquid Sugar dissolves in water.

2 : to bring to an end : terminate The businessmen dissolved their partnership.

3 : to fade away as if by melting or breaking up His anger quickly dissolved.

4 : to be overcome by a strong feeling He dissolved into tears.


dis·​solve | \diz-ˈälv, -ˈȯlv \
dissolved; dissolving

Medical Definition of dissolve 

transitive verb

1 : to cause to pass into solution dissolve sugar in water

2 : to cause to melt or liquefy

intransitive verb

1 : to become fluid

2 : to pass into solution

Other Words from dissolve

dissolvable \-​ˈäl-​və-​bəl, -​ˈȯl-​ \ adjective
dissolver noun

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transitive verb
dissolved; dissolving

Legal Definition of dissolve 

: to bring about the dissolution of

Other Words from dissolve

dissolvable adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on dissolve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dissolve

Spanish Central: Translation of dissolve

Nglish: Translation of dissolve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dissolve for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dissolve

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


to enclose within walls

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