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See more synonyms for amputate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), am·pu·tat·ed, am·pu·tat·ing.
  1. to cut off (all or part of a limb or digit of the body), as by surgery.
  2. to prune, lop off, or remove: Because of space limitations the editor amputated the last two paragraphs of the news report.
  3. Obsolete. to prune, as branches of trees.
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Origin of amputate

1630–40; < Latin amputātus pruned, trimmed (past participle of amputāre), equivalent to am(bi) around (cf. ambi-) + put- trim + -ātus -ate1
Related formsam·pu·ta·tion, nounam·pu·ta·tive, adjectiveam·pu·ta·tor, nounnon·am·pu·ta·tion, nounpost·am·pu·ta·tion, adjectiveself-am·pu·ta·tion, nounun·am·pu·tat·ed, adjectiveun·am·pu·ta·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

sever, excise, truncate, separate, lop, eliminate, dismember

Examples from the Web for amputate

Historical Examples

  • If he amputate the disordered member, it is to save the life.

    Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I

    Francis Augustus Cox

  • They could not operate on Rochard and amputate his leg, as they wanted to do.

    The Backwash of War

    Ellen N. La Motte

  • Pity one could not amputate her head, it would make a good woman of her.

    Poor Jack

    Frederick Marryat

  • We'll just put him to sleep for a minute while I amputate a leg.

  • It was necessary for old Doc Robbins to amputate both at the shoulders.

British Dictionary definitions for amputate


  1. surgery to remove (all or part of a limb, esp an arm or leg)
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Derived Formsamputation, nounamputator, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin amputāre, from am- around + putāre to trim, prune
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

Word Origin and History for amputate


1630s, back-formation from amputation or else from Latin amputatus, past participle of amputare "to cut off, to prune." Related: Amputated; amputating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

amputate in Medicine


  1. To cut off a part of the body, especially by surgery.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.