• synonyms


[dih-sim-uh-ley-shuh n]
See more synonyms for dissimilation on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act of making or becoming unlike.
  2. Phonetics. the process by which a speech sound becomes different from or less like a neighboring sound, as pilgrim [pil-grim] /ˈpɪl grɪm/ from Latin peregrīnus [per-e-gree-noo s] /ˌpɛr ɛˈgri nʊs/, and purple [pur-puh l] /ˈpɜr pəl/ from Old English purpure [poor-poo-re] /ˈpʊər pʊ rɛ/, or disappears entirely because of a like sound in another syllable, as in the pronunciation [guhv-uh-ner] /ˈgʌv ə nər/ for governor.Compare assimilation(def 7).
  3. Biology. catabolism.
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Origin of dissimilation

First recorded in 1820–30; dis-1 + (as)similation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for dissimilation

Historical Examples

  • The female name Annabel is a dissimilation of Amabel, whence Mabel.

    The Romance of Words (4th ed.)

    Ernest Weekley

  • Three of the most important of these are assimilation, dissimilation, and metathesis.

  • Dissimilation is first found in philological works published in the decade 1874-85.

    English Past and Present

    Richard Chevenix Trench

  • In the family name Hansom, for Hanson, we have dissimilation of n (see p. 57).

  • Let us first of all glance at some of the most important phenomena in connection with assimilation and dissimilation.

British Dictionary definitions for dissimilation


  1. the act or an instance of making dissimilar
  2. phonetics the alteration or omission of a consonant as a result of being dissimilated
  3. biology a less common word for catabolism
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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 dissimilation


1874, noun of action from dissimilate.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper