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Borrowed from Latin dissectus past participle of dissecare (to cut asunder, cut up), from dis- (asunder) + secare (to cut); see section.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈsɛkt/, /daɪˈsɛkt/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /dɪˈsɛkt/, /daɪˈsɛkt/
  • Rhymes: -ɛkt


dissect (third-person singular simple present dissects, present participle dissecting, simple past and past participle dissected)

  1. (transitive) To study an animal's anatomy by cutting it apart; to perform a necropsy or an autopsy.
  2. (transitive) To study a plant or other organism's anatomy similarly.
  3. (transitive) To analyze an idea in detail by separating it into its parts.
  4. (transitive, anatomy, surgery) To separate muscles, organs, and so on without cutting into them or disrupting their architecture.
    Now dissect the triceps away from its attachment on the humerus.
  5. (transitive, pathology) Of an infection or foreign material, following the fascia separating muscles or other organs.

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