[ dis-er-tey-shuh n ]
/ ˌdɪs ərˈteɪ ʃən /


a written essay, treatise, or thesis, especially one written by a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
any formal discourse in speech or writing.

Nearby words

  1. dissenting opinion,
  2. dissentious,
  3. dissepiment,
  4. dissert,
  5. dissertate,
  6. disserve,
  7. disservice,
  8. dissever,
  9. dissidence,
  10. dissident

Origin of dissertation

1605–15; < Latin dissertātiōn- (stem of dissertātiō), equivalent to dissertāt(us) (past participle of dissertāre; dissert- (see dissert) + -ātus -ate1) + -iōn- -ion

Related formsdis·ser·ta·tion·al, adjectivedis·ser·ta·tion·ist, noun

Can be confuseddissertation thesis

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

Examples from the Web for dissertation

British Dictionary definitions for dissertation


/ (ˌdɪsəˈteɪʃən) /


a written thesis, often based on original research, usually required for a higher degree
a formal discourse
Derived Formsdissertational, adjectivedissertationist, 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 dissertation



1610s, "discussion, debate," from Latin dissertationem (nominative dissertatio) "discourse," noun of action from past participle stem of dissertare "debate, argue, examine, harangue," frequentative of disserere "discuss, examine," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + serere "to arrange words" (see series). Sense of "formal, written treatise" is 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper