[verb las-uh-reyt; adjective las-uh-reyt, -er-it]

verb (used with object), lac·er·at·ed, lac·er·at·ing.

to tear roughly; mangle: The barbed wire lacerated his hands.
to distress or torture mentally or emotionally; wound deeply; pain greatly: His bitter criticism lacerated my heart.


Origin of lacerate

1535–45; < Latin lacerātus, past participle of lacerāre to tear up (derivative of lacer mangled); see -ate1
Related formslac·er·a·ble, adjectivelac·er·a·bil·i·ty [las-er-uh-bil-i-tee] /ˌlæs ər əˈbɪl ɪ ti/, nounlac·er·a·tive [las-uh-rey-tiv, -er-uh-tiv] /ˈlæs əˌreɪ tɪv, -ər ə tɪv/, adjectiveself-lac·er·at·ing, adjectiveun·lac·er·at·ing, adjective

Synonyms for lacerate

1. rend. See maim. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lacerate

Contemporary Examples of lacerate

  • “Rails” and “lacerate,” two other words swiftly elected for pillory, were classic Tejpal, overblown, mannered, theatrical.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Fall of India’s Conscience

    Tunku Varadarajan

    November 25, 2013

Historical Examples of lacerate

  • I forgot to lacerate your beaver hats, but that is soon done.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • These spurs do not lacerate the horse, as their points are blunt.


    Charles Reginald Enock

  • Is there now some “thorn in the flesh” sent to lacerate thee?

    The Faithful Promiser

    John Ross Macduff

  • And he kept drifting about to find Becky and lacerate her with the performance.

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • The power of individuals to lacerate their fellow-creatures is given to them by the community.


    William E. Channing

British Dictionary definitions for lacerate


verb (ˈlæsəˌreɪt) (tr)

to tear (the flesh, etc) jaggedly
to hurt or harrow (the feelings, etc)

adjective (ˈlæsəˌreɪt, -rɪt)

having edges that are jagged or torn; laceratedlacerate leaves
Derived Formslacerable, adjectivelacerability, nounlaceration, nounlacerative, adjective

Word Origin for lacerate

C16: from Latin lacerāre to tear, from lacer mangled
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 lacerate

early 15c., from Latin laceratus, past participle of lacerare "tear to pieces, mangle," figuratively, "to slander, censure, abuse," from lacer "torn, mangled," from PIE root *lek- "to rend, tear" (cf. Greek lakis "tatter, rag," lakizein "to tear to pieces;" Russian lochma "rag, tatter, scrap;" Albanian l'akur "naked"). Related: Lacerated; lacerating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lacerate in Medicine




To rip, cut, or tear.


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