[ dih-sim-uh-ley-shuhn ]
See 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-noos], /ˌpɛr ɛˈgri nʊs/, and purple [pur-puhl] /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).

  1. Biology. catabolism.

Origin of dissimilation

First recorded in 1820–30; dis-1 + (as)similation

Words Nearby dissimilation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dissimilation in a sentence

  • The sounds most frequently affected by dissimilation are those represented by the letters l, n, and r. Fr.

  • We have seen (p. 57) that the letters l, n, r are particularly subject to dissimilation and metathesis.

  • 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.

    An Introduction to Psychology | Wilhelm Max Wundt
  • To cause the opposite process of dissimilation, we draw one large sector among several smaller sectors.

    An Introduction to Psychology | Wilhelm Max Wundt

British Dictionary definitions for dissimilation


/ (ˌdɪsɪmɪˈleɪʃən) /

  1. the act or an instance of making dissimilar

  2. phonetics the alteration or omission of a consonant as a result of being dissimilated

  1. biology a less common word for catabolism

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