[viv-uh-sek-shuh n]


the action of cutting into or dissecting a living body.
the practice of subjecting living animals to cutting operations, especially in order to advance physiological and pathological knowledge.

Origin of vivisection

First recorded in 1700–10; vivi- + section
Related formsviv·i·sec·tion·al, adjectiveviv·i·sec·tion·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vivisection

Historical Examples of vivisection

  • "You know my views now on the subject of vivisection," she said at last.

    The Beth Book

    Sarah Grand

  • They do not know what their own opinions are, until the victim of vivisection tells them.

    Eugenics and Other Evils

    G. K. Chesterton

  • At present this is mainly carried on by means of Dissection or Vivisection.

  • Men sneered at vivisection, and yet look at its results to-day!


    Bram Stoker

  • Vivisection was a pastime to this; this implicated the spirit, the other only the body.

    The Imitator

    Percival Pollard

British Dictionary definitions for vivisection



the act or practice of performing experiments on living animals, involving cutting into or dissecting the body
Derived Formsvivisectional, adjectivevivisectionally, adverb

Word Origin for vivisection

C18: from vivi-, from Latin vīvus living + section, as in dissection
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 vivisection

"dissection of a living animal," 1707, from Latin vivus "alive" (see vivid) + ending from dissection).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vivisection in Medicine


[vĭv′ĭ-sĕkshən, vĭvĭ-sĕk′-]


The act or practice of cutting into or performing surgery on living animals for the purpose of scientific research.
Related formsviv′i•section•ist n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

vivisection in Science



The practice of examining internal organs and tissues by cutting into or dissecting a living animal, especially for the purpose of scientific research.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

vivisection in Culture


[(viv-uh-sek-shuhn, viv-uh-sek-shuhn)]

The cutting up or dissection of animals, including anesthetized live animals, in scientific research. Vivisection is also a general term for the use of animals as subjects in laboratory experiments, especially in the development of new medical techniques and drugs.


Vivisection, as well as the general use of animals in medical research, is a target of protest by animal rights advocates.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.