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mutilate

[myoot-l-eyt]
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verb (used with object), mu·ti·lat·ed, mu·ti·lat·ing.
  1. to injure, disfigure, or make imperfect by removing or irreparably damaging parts: Vandals mutilated the painting.
  2. to deprive (a person or animal) of a limb or other essential part.
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Origin of mutilate

1525–35; < Latin mutilātus (past participle of mutilāre to cut off, maim), equivalent to mutil(us) maimed, mutilated + -ātus -ate1
Related formsmu·ti·la·tion, nounmu·ti·la·tive, mu·ti·la·to·ry [myoot-l-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈmyut l əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivemu·ti·la·tor, nounself-mu·ti·lat·ing, adjectiveself-mu·ti·la·tion, nounun·mu·ti·lat·ed, adjectiveun·mu·ti·la·tive, adjective

Synonyms

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1. damage, mar, cripple. 2. See maim.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

deface, disfigure, injure, cripple, amputate, distort, butcher, disable, ravage, hack, dismember, mangle, mar, lame, expurgate, scratch, lacerate, hurt, crush, bowdlerize

Examples from the Web for mutilate

Historical Examples

  • With cynical cruelty, he set himself to insult, to undermine, to mutilate it.

    The Child of Pleasure

    Gabriele D'Annunzio

  • If we wrong it, and despise it, we mutilate the divine in ourselves.

    Marriage la mode

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • But that herd belongs to the lawyer, and I've taught him, now, to mutilate our horses.

    Columba

    Prosper Merimee

  • Care should be taken not to mutilate trees in taking these specimens.

    Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study

    Ontario Ministry of Education

  • The passage is too long to quote, and it would be unfair to mutilate it.


British Dictionary definitions for mutilate

mutilate

verb (tr)
  1. to deprive of a limb, essential part, etc; maim; dismember
  2. to mar, expurgate, or damage (a text, book, etc)
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Derived Formsmutilation, nounmutilative, adjectivemutilator, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin mutilāre to cut off; related to mutilus maimed
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 mutilate

v.

1530s, of things; 1560s, of persons; from Latin mutilatus, past participle of mutilare "to cut off, lop off, cut short; maim, mutilate," from mutilus "maimed" (see mutilation). Technically, to deprive of some principal part, especially by cutting off. Related: Mutilated; mutilating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper