mu·​ti·​la·​tion ˌmyü-tə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce mutilation (audio)
plural mutilations
: an act or instance of destroying, removing, or severely damaging a limb or other body part of a person or animal
the mutilation of a body
They were men who had been sexually damaged by disease, accident, or deliberate mutilation.James J. O'Donnell
His book contains very many gruesome accounts of murder and mutilation, and page after page describing torture in almost salacious detail.Geoffrey Wheatcroft
see also female genital mutilation
: an act or instance of damaging or altering something radically
Evidence suggests that the mutilation of the sculptures was deliberate.
Thus an author has the right of paternity (authorship) and integrity (the right to object to derogatory actions, distortion, mutilation or other modifications in relation to his or her work that would be prejudicial to the artist's honor or reputation).Judith Nierman
Critics described the proposed structure as a "vast pile of masonry" that they feared would never be removed and would become a "permanent mutilation of Hyde Park."Henry Petroski

Examples of mutilation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The first half of the novel affords a devastating look at the death, mutilation and overall destruction witnessed every day by these valiant women. Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024 Government vows to bring perpetrators to justice following CNN reporting In 2016, two women were charged before a Banjul Magistrates’ Court in the country’s capital after a five-month-old infant girl died from genital mutilation in the Sankandi area of Gambia’s Kiang West district. Nimi Princewill, CNN, 19 Mar. 2024 Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Swanson ordered Sultan Shareef, a multiple felon, to serve the rest of his life in prison for the gruesome Sept. 24, 2022, slaying and mutilation of 20-year-old Kania Brunson. Chris Ramirez, Journal Sentinel, 21 Feb. 2024 The book begins with the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, the Army’s mass slaughter and mutilation of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people in Colorado Territory. Parul Sehgal, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 The bill would have stopped child mutilation, and prevented men from playing in women’s sports. Matt Lavietes, NBC News, 5 Jan. 2024 The country is still reeling from the rape, mutilation, and murder of more than 1,000 civilians by Hamas, which calls for the annihilation of the state of Israel and its Jews. Trudy Rubin, The Mercury News, 17 Jan. 2024 What maintains this unit into continuing of caste system is the unending violence in the form of rape, mutilation and murder. Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 11 Jan. 2024 The visual, which alludes to some David Cronenberg–style bodily mutilation, was directed by Andrew Norman Wilson. Hattie Lindert, Pitchfork, 14 Dec. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1517, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mutilation was in 1517

Dictionary Entries Near mutilation

Cite this Entry

“Mutilation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


mu·​ti·​la·​tion ˌmyüt-ᵊl-ˈā-shən How to pronounce mutilation (audio)
: deprivation of a limb or essential part especially by excision
the mutilation of a body
: an instance of mutilating
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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