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[dis-mem-ber] /dɪsˈmɛm bər/
verb (used with object)
to deprive of limbs; divide limb from limb:
The ogre dismembered his victims before he ate them.
to divide into parts; cut to pieces; mutilate.
to reduce, reorganize, or discontinue the services or parts of (a company, government agency, etc.):
Our business was dismembered by the conglomerate that bought it.
Origin of dismember
1250-1300; Middle English dismembren < Anglo-French, Old French desmembrer, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -membrer, verbal derivative of membre member
Related forms
dismemberer, noun
dismemberment, noun
nondismemberment, noun
Can be confused
disembodied, disemboweled, dismembered. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dismember
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Kiddie helped him only so far as to skin and dismember the rabbit and peel the onions.

    Kiddie the Scout

    Robert Leighton
  • After all, why dismember his library for the sake of saving a few shillings on carriage?

    The Whirlpool George Gissing
  • Too large to pass through the door, so they tried to dismember it.

    Animal Intelligence George J. Romanes
  • John Henry's plot to dismember the Union disclosed to congress.

  • We have no desire whatever to dismember the territory of the empire.

  • If 283 they cannot manage this, they carry it to a rock, where they dismember it with their beak and claws.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • They're weary of our existing government and are about to dismember or overthrow it?

    Plays Susan Glaspell
British Dictionary definitions for dismember


verb (transitive)
to remove the limbs or members of
to cut to pieces
to divide or partition (something, such as an empire)
Derived Forms
dismemberer, noun
dismemberment, 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 dismember

c.1300, from Old French desmembrer (11c.), from Medieval Latin dismembrare "tear limb from limb; castrate," from Latin de- "take away" + membrum "limb" (see member). Related: Dismembered; dismembering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dismember in Medicine

dismember dis·mem·ber (dĭs-měm'bər)
v. dis·mem·bered, dis·mem·ber·ing, dis·mem·bers
To amputate a limb or a part of a limb.

dis·mem'ber·ment n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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