[dis-fig-yer; British dis-fig-er]

verb (used with object), dis·fig·ured, dis·fig·ur·ing.

to mar the appearance or beauty of; deform; deface: Our old towns are increasingly disfigured by tasteless new buildings.
to mar the effect or excellence of: His reputation was disfigured by instances of political favoritism.

Origin of disfigure

1325–75; Middle English disfiguren < Anglo-French, Old French desfigurer, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -figurer, verbal derivative of figure figure
Related formsdis·fig·ur·er, nounun·dis·fig·ured, adjective

Synonyms for disfigure

1. spoil, blemish. See mar.

Antonyms for disfigure

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disfigure

Historical Examples of disfigure

  • The hideous monstrosities of post-Reformation times did not then disfigure our churches.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • The happy-go-lucky Venetian methods were no longer to disfigure the country.

  • There is no rise and fall of tide in these regions to disfigure the shore with mud.

    The Riddle of the Sands

    Erskine Childers

  • Not infrequently is it true that the style of dress seems to disfigure.

    The Bibliotaph

    Leon H. Vincent

  • But, dear, dear, what a pity it is that you should go and disfigure yourselves like this!

    Glyn Severn's Schooldays

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for disfigure


verb (tr)

to spoil the appearance or shape of; deface
to mar the effect or quality of
Derived Formsdisfigurer, 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

Word Origin and History for disfigure

late 14c., from Old French desfigurer "disfigure, alter, disguise, destroy," from Medieval Latin diffigurare, from Latin dis- (see dis-) + figura "figure," from figurare "to figure" (see figure (n.)). Related: Disfigured; disfiguring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper