Synonym Chooser

How does the verb mutilate contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of mutilate are batter, cripple, maim, and mangle. While all these words mean "to injure so severely as to cause lasting damage," mutilate implies the cutting off or removal of an essential part of a person or thing thereby impairing its completeness, beauty, or function.

a tree mutilated by inept pruning

Where would batter be a reasonable alternative to mutilate?

Although the words batter and mutilate have much in common, batter implies a series of blows that bruise deeply, deform, or mutilate.

an old ship battered by fierce storms

When is cripple a more appropriate choice than mutilate?

The words cripple and mutilate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, cripple implies the loss or serious impairment of an arm or leg.

crippled for life in an accident

When can maim be used instead of mutilate?

The meanings of maim and mutilate largely overlap; however, maim implies the loss or injury of a bodily member through violence.

maimed by a shark

When could mangle be used to replace mutilate?

While in some cases nearly identical to mutilate, mangle implies a tearing or crushing that leaves deep wounds.

a soldier's leg mangled by shrapnel

Thesaurus Entries Near mutilate

Cite this Entry

“Mutilate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on mutilate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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