Definition of dismember in English:



  • 1Cut off the limbs of (a person or animal):

    ‘he watched a doctor dismember the body’
    ‘a dismembered corpse’
    • ‘He also dismembers victims and attaches their limbs to car batteries to make them twitch.’
    • ‘Thompson, who denies murder, then allegedly dismembered the body before burying the remains in the Lake District.’
    • ‘Horses are dismembered, arrows slice through necks, and swift blades render unexpected carnage.’
    • ‘The official said the suspects had admitted to making an appointment to meet the car dealer and then shooting him, dismembering him and scattering the body parts around eastern Moscow.’
    • ‘The decision to dismember the body and deposit the parts in Galveston Bay, is highly incriminating.’
    • ‘Prosecutors said he strangled him and later dismembered his girlfriend in Greece in 1997.’
    • ‘They also raise extraordinary philosophical issues; like whether extracting them from a test-tube embryo is tantamount to dismembering a baby.’
    • ‘In hospitals, doctors dismember their patients.’
    • ‘The man accused of murdering and dismembering another man after stabbing him through the heart may have had some knowledge of butchery, a court heard.’
    • ‘In the past, the gang has threatened to kidnap and dismember the boy.’
    • ‘He also admitted to dismembering a six-year-old child.’
    • ‘He was not there when the child was born, he was not there when the child died and he was not there when the child was dismembered and buried?’
    • ‘A Yorkshireman suspected of dismembering a man then fleeing to the United States was waiting to return to the UK last night after officially waiving his right to fight extradition.’
    • ‘I am astonished to see it's the partly buried, dismembered body of a woman.’
    • ‘Take a pile of mystery keys, dismembered action figures, dead flashlights, assorted calculators and undeveloped rolls of film.’
    • ‘It's one thing to watch people being dismembered on screen.’
    • ‘A very straightforward narrative told with understated cinematic technique, this is not an excuse to show off how cool it can be to dismember a character using computer graphics.’
    • ‘A TEN-year-old schoolgirl yesterday told a hushed court how she had seen the man accused of murdering and dismembering another man beat her mother.’
    • ‘I carried on with the body much like before, disemboweling and dismembering the boy.’
    • ‘In the old vegetation myths the god is dismembered, dies, and is buried as a sacrifice that generates new life, freeing the waters and restoring life to the Waste Land.’
    disjoint, joint, cut off the limbs of
    pull apart, cut up, chop up, break up, dissect, divide, segment
    mutilate, hack up, butcher, tear limb from limb
    View synonyms
  • 2Partition or divide up (a territory or organization):

    ‘the winning powers of World War I set out to dismember the Ottoman Empire’
    • ‘In 1102 Henry I broke the sons of Roger of Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury, and dismembered their father's marcher ‘empire’.’
    • ‘Most German commentators now regard the dismembering of the Kirch empire as a foregone conclusion, leaving other sports and TV companies across Europe facing an uncertain future.’
    • ‘The European empires were dismembered by nationalist movements, with support from lawyers, journalists, unions, and the churches.’
    • ‘It was a particular grief for him to see the army to which he had devoted his life dismembered by partition in 1947.’
    • ‘The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them, and deprived of territory so vast in extent that it can not be traversed in a march of two months.’
    • ‘So the lands of the dismembered Yugoslav state became not only the scene of Europe's greatest resistance struggle, but also one of its bloodiest civil wars.’
    • ‘Germany, too, was dismembered, divided, stripped of colonies, bankrupted by war reparations, forced to confess full moral guilt for the war.’
    • ‘We were the ones that brought the country to its independence in 1923, by a treaty for dismembering the old Ottoman Empire.’
    • ‘After World War I, England and France dismembered the Ottoman Empire and carved out Iraq and other states as pawns of European colonial interests.’
    • ‘This problem is of principal importance to Russia as long as there are forces that intend to resort to a strategy of dismembering this country to prevent it from emerging as a strong competitor, especially a superpower.’
    • ‘Austria-Hungary lost 1.3 million military lives and the victorious western Allies dismembered its empire.’
    • ‘When in 1903 Leo XIII died and the Patriarch of Venice ascended to St Peter's throne as Pius X, the Vatican dismembered the political arm of the organization for good.’
    • ‘Currency stabilization was a top economic priority after World War l in the dismembered Austro-Hungarian Empire.’


Middle English: from Old French desmembrer, based on Latin dis- apart + membrum limb.