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.

Nearby words

  1. dismally,
  2. dismantle,
  3. dismast,
  4. dismay,
  5. disme,
  6. dismemberment,
  7. dismiss,
  8. dismissal,
  9. dismission,
  10. dismissive

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 formsdis·mem·ber·er, noundis·mem·ber·ment, nounnon·dis·mem·ber·ment, noun

Can be confuseddisembodied disemboweled dismembered

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

Examples from the Web for dismember

British Dictionary definitions for dismember


verb (tr)

to remove the limbs or members of
to cut to pieces
to divide or partition (something, such as an empire)
Derived Formsdismemberer, noundismemberment, 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 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

Medicine definitions for dismember




To amputate a limb or a part of a limb.
Related formsdis•member•ment n.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.