Definition of deconstruct in English:



[with object]
  • 1Analyse (a text or linguistic or conceptual system) by deconstruction.

    ‘she likes to deconstruct the texts, to uncover what they are not saying’
    • ‘Deconstructing the novel becomes a metaphor for deconstructing Western metaphysics.’
    • ‘Moreover, don't these choices facilitate a feminist reading of the text, deconstructing sentimentality to expose masculine failings and feminine rebellion?’
    • ‘Worse still, whereas literature was once valued for the beauty of its language or its moral impact, the purpose of reading is now to deconstruct texts in terms of power relationships.’
    • ‘At first glance, Ann Allen Shockley's novel, Loving Her, appears to be a postmodern novel that deconstructs dominant ideologies of race, gender, and sexuality.’
    • ‘Balfour deconstructs Coleridge's affirmation of the symbol and symbolic politics by pointing to the allegorical style of his political rhetoric.’
    analyse, examine, study, inspect, scrutinize, probe, explore, pore over, investigate, sift, delve into, go over with a fine-tooth comb
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    1. 1.1 Reduce (something) to its constituent parts in order to reinterpret it.
      ‘I want to deconstruct this myth that poverty breeds crime’
      • ‘In other words, he used common sense to deconstruct rhetorical falsehoods, pulling apart the suffocating mesh of collectivist lies one carefully observed thread at a time.’
      • ‘No Wave was about using the very building block of music (units of sound) to create and convey, or deconstruct and destroy what we knew about rock and roll.’
      • ‘Families, relationships and institutions are constructed and deconstructed.’
      • ‘After laying down the melody, he proceeded to deconstruct it, pulling it into new shapes, twisting, fragmenting, yet never losing touch with his starting point.’
      • ‘We will deconstruct this document from PDF back into text, and we will be in a position to supply the entire text of this document.’
      • ‘Why isn't Bill Gates trying to deconstruct the same system that made him wealthy?’
      • ‘For example, who could pick up a scientific paper and pull apart its conclusions, deconstruct its methodology, even understand what the bloody hell it is on about?’
      • ‘To prevent the oppression of women, it is necessary to deconstruct the institutions through men control women - institutions such as the free market’
      • ‘In reaction to this sort of perspective, cultural studies theorists tried to destroy or deconstruct the distinction between high art and popular culture.’
      • ‘If so, then the problem has not yet been deconstructed to a level basic enough to allow exhaustive investigation.’
      take apart, take to pieces, take to bits, pull apart, pull to pieces, disassemble, break up, strip, strip down
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Late 19th century: back-formation from deconstruction.