[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

British Dictionary definitions for self-lacerating


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 self-lacerating



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

self-lacerating 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.