Definition of dissect in English:



  • 1 Methodically cut up (a body or plant) in order to study its internal parts.

    ‘an animal's eye can be easily dissected’
    • ‘For Sisyranthus trichostomus, the corona is not visible without dissecting the flower.’
    • ‘I wondered about the ethics of dissecting a donated body for general interest rather than specialist research.’
    • ‘I studied the nude, and at the Medical Institute we were made to dissect corpses.’
    • ‘This is exciting, because it means that we can dissect the chimpanzee species and ask, where are the ecological influences and what effects are they having?’
    • ‘When as a medical student you dissected a cadaver, were there things said and done that left you deeply worried about the respect that you might be shown when you are dead?’
    • ‘The move was suggested by Islamic leaders whose religion disapproves of bodies being dissected by pathologists attempting to find the cause of death.’
    • ‘At the time, the knowledge of anatomy was developing rapidly but anatomists were only legally allowed to dissect the corpses of executed criminals.’
    • ‘Trees were dissected into leaves, bark and wood of various trunk sections; lateral roots; and bark and wood of main root sections.’
    • ‘In Scotland and in England royal assent was required in order to dissect the bodies of hanged felons.’
    • ‘Galen was also interested in human anatomy but there is no evidence that he dissected human bodies - though rumours persisted that he did.’
    • ‘Guidelines from the Royal College of Pathologists allow mortuary technicians to dissect bodies and remove organs in the absence of the pathologist.’
    • ‘Come 9pm it is hard to avoid a body being dissected or a corpse in a state of decomposition.’
    • ‘We were told the story of a student whose grandfather, himself a medical doctor, had specifically asked her to dissect his body after death.’
    • ‘Not even the first time she dissected a human body?’
    • ‘In order to paint the human form better, he studied anatomy, dissecting many cadavers at a time when this was unusual, and drawing them in painstaking detail.’
    • ‘The victim's body was dissected at the scene, causing shock and public mourning.’
    • ‘When she died in 1815, her corpse was dissected by a French surgeon and parts of it, including the brain and genitalia, preserved in bottles.’
    • ‘The animal was eventually sacrificed for research purposes - when the scientists dissected the body, which by this time was very weak and thin, they found that the creature's digestive system had completely disappeared.’
    • ‘From each plant one randomly chosen, fresh flower was dissected under a binocular microscope to separate the corolla, androecium and gynoecium.’
    • ‘After she died, her body was dissected and her brain and genitals preserved, with casts of her body and her skeleton.’
    anatomize, cut up, cut open, lay open, dismember
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    1. 1.1Analyse (a text or idea) in minute detail.
      ‘he dissected the Prime Minister's statement and revealed the truth behind it’
      • ‘Every last detail of tonight's contest is dissected in detail, assisted by the instant video replay on the bar's two TV screens.’
      • ‘But this book dissects, analyses and hurls back those lies in gory detail.’
      • ‘He'd had researchers, packaging experts, and McKinsey consultants dissecting the idea for a year.’
      • ‘So let's dissect the system in detail this week.’
      • ‘I dissected the magazine from cover to cover, until the ink started to wear off the pages.’
      • ‘Exploiting an extraordinary cast of characters to the full, Coe dissects the body politic of Conservative Britain in the 1980s.’
      • ‘Every so often, literary scholars seem to want to dissect an author's body of work, hoping to gain some insight into their personal life.’
      • ‘My brain was still processing what Anna had said; analysing it, and dissecting it into little pieces.’
      • ‘Thirty-six competitions, the majority for public projects, their submitted images, models and texts, are dissected in detail.’
      • ‘Echevarria brilliantly dissects the ideas of these thinkers.’
      • ‘The article dissects a popular book that goes to great lengths to show how different Canadians and Americans are.’
      • ‘The purpose of this article is not to dissect the Bush Doctrine.’
      • ‘We got around to discussing the game in detail, dissecting the various lines on each side.’
      • ‘It begins by looking at literary analysis where it is normal to dissect texts to understand the techniques they use to achieve aesthetic technique.’
      • ‘He has been accused of murdering beggars to dissect their bodies.’
      • ‘People want to analyse and dissect the mind to an incredible level of detail, to understand personality, motivation, influences and intent.’
      • ‘But since we have already started to dissect the list of nominees, we will take a peak at other outrages and oddities.’
      • ‘She'll analyse and dissect everything from 19th century Russian literature to salt and pepper shakers in pubs.’
      • ‘But the mere exertion of dissecting a newspaper was too much, and he threw up.’
      • ‘With unrelenting precision and distinct overtones of mockery, Tolstoy dissects the notion that men dictate events.’
      analyse, examine, study, inspect, scrutinize, probe, explore, pore over, investigate, sift, delve into, go over with a fine-tooth comb
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Late 16th century: from Latin dissect- cut up, from the verb dissecare, from dis- apart + secare to cut.