- to injure, disfigure, or make imperfect by removing or irreparably damaging parts: Vandals mutilated the painting.
- to deprive (a person or animal) of a limb or other essential part.
Origin of mutilate
SynonymsSee more synonyms for mutilate on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for self-mutilation
Some species, too, have the peculiar habit of self-mutilation.Elementary Zoology, Second Edition
Vernon L. Kellogg
This self-mutilation is believed to produce the desired result.The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life
XI, recounts Pomponio's self-mutilation in order to effect his escape.Old Mission Stories of California
Charles Franklin Carter
There are some sacrifices which partake of the nature of self-mutilation.Diana Tempest, Volume III (of 3)
Obscure Greek cults practised similar disciplines even to the extent of self-mutilation.A Short History of the World
H. G. Wells
- the act or an instance of mutilating oneself
- to deprive of a limb, essential part, etc; maim; dismember
- to mar, expurgate, or damage (a text, book, etc)
Word Origin and History for self-mutilation
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.