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[dis-uh-peer] /ˌdɪs əˈpɪər/
verb (used without object)
to cease to be seen; vanish from sight.
to cease to exist or be known; pass away; end gradually:
One by one the symptoms disappeared.
(of a person) to vanish under suspicious circumstances:
The dictator's outspoken opponent disappeared that evening, shortly after midnight.
verb (used with object)
to cause to disappear:
The magician then disappeared the card.
to kidnap or arrest and then imprison or kill (a political opponent) without due process of law.
noun, (used with a plural verb)
the disappeared, political opponents who are caused to disappear, as by kidnapping:
the disappeared of Argentina.
Origin of disappear
1520-30; dis-1 + appear
Related forms
nondisappearing, adjective
undisappearing, adjective
1. Disappear, fade, vanish suggest that something passes from sight. Disappear is used of whatever suddenly or gradually goes out of sight: We watched him turn down a side street and then disappear. Fade suggests a (complete or partial) disappearance that proceeds gradually and often by means of a blending into something else: Colors in the sky at sunrise quickly fade. Vanish suggests complete, generally rapid, and often mysterious disappearance: A mirage can vanish as suddenly as it appears. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for disappeared
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So they rose into the air and disappeared in an easterly direction.

  • But it proved to be only a boy, and he hailed them and then disappeared.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • He got the news in the Moluccas through the Tesmans, and then disappeared for a time.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • He testified as to the manner in which the package had disappeared from the counter of the saloon.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • It moved slowly, and in about five minutes disappeared behind a mountain.

    The Book of the Damned Charles Fort
British Dictionary definitions for disappeared


(intransitive) to cease to be visible; vanish
(intransitive) to go away or become lost, esp secretly or without explanation
(intransitive) to cease to exist, have effect, or be known; become extinct or lost: the pain has disappeared
(transitive) (esp in South and Central America) to arrest secretly and presumably imprison or kill (a member of an opposing political group)
Derived Forms
disappearance, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for disappeared



early 15c., disaperen, from dis- "do the opposite of" + appear. Earlier was disparish (early 15c.), from French disparaiss-, stem of disparaître. Related: Disappeared; disappearing; disappears. Slang disappearing act is originally of magic shows; in figurative sense of "getting away" first attested 1913.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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