Definition of dissemble in English:



  • 1 Conceal or disguise one's true feelings or beliefs.

    ‘an honest, sincere person with no need to dissemble’
    • ‘Strauss goes so far as to say that dissembling and deception-in effect, a culture of lies-is the peculiar justice of the wise.’
    • ‘Moreover, emotions are ‘produced,’ constructed rather than inherent, and thus can be faked or dissembled.’
    • ‘The media is largely compliant - being so popular, and now in your third term, no-one is game to take you on or push you to answer questions, so you get away with dissembling, even lies.’
    • ‘You're with Radio National's Background Briefing, and today we probe the smoky world of ambiguities, misinformation, dissembling and not so much lies, as the avoidance of truth.’
    • ‘Women writers developed an artistry of indirection, dissembling, splitting, masking, and coding to get their anger out into the public sphere.’
    • ‘Before you write anything, before you take their word for anything, you ought to carefully study the possibility that they are dissembling.’
    • ‘But the surest way to fuel anti-migrant prejudice is for government to be seen to be dissembling or downplaying the extent or consequences of migration: honesty is the only viable policy.’
    • ‘Even so, the intimate, dissembling, distant transmissions exchanged via these radioactive pieces of plastic thread through the album's episodic songs.’
    • ‘It is time to stop dissembling, delaying and deceiving.’
    • ‘Dionne's commendably honest assessment at the end of the piece is at odds with his earlier dissembling.’
    • ‘Poker also requires analytical skill, but above all it requires skill in bluffing and dissembling.’
    • ‘He can plot and plan, lie and dissemble without fear of contradiction or enquiry, let alone protest.’
    • ‘It is now clear, however, that this was just the first stage in the Government's dissembling over the presentation of a decision already taken.’
    • ‘More interestingly, ravens seem to know when other ravens are checking them out, and are able to dissemble and deceive.’
    • ‘A kind of ‘covering fire’ across media battlefields makes it easier for the candidate to just keep on dissembling.’
    • ‘And the others, the other scientific advisers and other military officers, senior officials who were in our hands, you sense they're still dissembling as well?’
    • ‘Mr Secretary, you're dissembling, non-responsive.’
    • ‘He said: ‘We have a string of denials, of discrepancies and dissembling on the part of Downing Street.’’
    • ‘Everytime a politician speaks, you know, they're fooling you, they're dissembling.’
    • ‘They are either deeply confused, or deliberately dissembling.’
    dissimulate, pretend, deceive, feign, act, masquerade, sham, fake, bluff, counterfeit, pose, posture, hide one's feelings, be dishonest, put on a false front, lie
    cover up, conceal, disguise, hide, mask, veil, shroud
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Disguise or conceal (a feeling or intention)
      ‘she smiled, dissembling her true emotion’
      • ‘Poussin, who seems to privilege the world image per se, dissembles such spatiotemporal leaps within the contiguous illusion-promoting signs of the depicted scene.’
      • ‘The male narrators offer the woman's body as the place where they are momentarily free from the pressures of dissembling a myth of themselves.’
      • ‘When Agrippina decided to show sympathy for Claudius' natural son Britannicus in 55, she sealed his doom, though the poisoning was not overt and could be dissembled, as by Seneca, who wrote praising Nero's clemency in the next year.’
      • ‘Out of self-interest, rich or eminent people who would curry popular favor to gain political office will dissemble their selfishness and pride.’
      • ‘Burke never dissembled the existence of the real misery that he observed in civil society.’
      • ‘‘Realistic, illusionist art had dissembled the medium, using art to conceal art.’
      • ‘But, in fact, the Captain dissembles his own allegiances.’
      • ‘Alan Bakke won his case, but universities continued to do to others what his medical school had done to him, being careful, however, to dissemble their actions behind the screen of diversity rhetoric.’
      • ‘Melissa dissembled acceptance and showed only a little of how hurt she felt by this treatment and asked if he would help her understand what she had missed.’
      • ‘But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it.’
      • ‘In melodrama the characters are templates for the tracing of society's invisible or ideologically dissembled ministers of power, while the narrative unwinds the psychological machinery of their enforcement.’
      • ‘If she were such an abyss of insincerity as to dissemble distrust under such frankness, she must at least be more subtle than to bring her doubts to her rival for solution.’
      • ‘No longer need the ailing woman pass through the smiling derisive rows of courtiers, fearing their eyes, dreading the falling of her rose and catching her breath as she dissembled a vivacity that amused the King.’
      • ‘Unfolding thus entails temporality, which is said to dissemble the essential.’
      • ‘The state does not dilute or dissemble the gravity of the act.’


Late Middle English: alteration (suggested by semblance) of obsolete dissimule, via Old French from Latin dissimulare disguise, conceal.