Definition of dissolve in US English:



  • 1(with reference to a solid) become or cause to become incorporated into a liquid so as to form a solution.

    no object ‘glucose dissolves easily in water’
    with object ‘dissolve a bouillon cube in a pint of hot water’
    • ‘I began to try and vainly struggle, tears running down my cheeks and leaving a black trail like discoloured blood as my eyeliner dissolved with the salty solution.’
    • ‘A neutral charged creatine remains, which can dissolve more completely in water.’
    • ‘Poison gas, dissolving slowly in the water, is able to pollute vast areas and get into food chains.’
    • ‘Fine grain sugars are best because they dissolve easily and are distributed evenly, during the mixing and kneading process, evenly browning the dough in the oven.’
    • ‘When you notice that the fine particles remain, as slurry on the bottom, and no amount of agitation will get them to dissolve, the solution is now saturated.’
    • ‘You can taste good yoghurt through the strawberry, although the fruit dissolves on the tongue.’
    • ‘Finally, whey protein dissolves easily in water, making it convenient for a protein drink when you're on the go.’
    • ‘Jelly sweets made with this ingredient do not dissolve easily and can result in the sweets becoming stuck in a child's throat.’
    • ‘And living underwater, they are most sensitive to molecules that dissolve easily in water and can thus be swept into their nasal cavities.’
    • ‘It dissolves rather easily and forms Ca + + and SO4 = ions in the soil solution.’
    • ‘The jelly can contain a gelling agent which does not easily dissolve and can result in the sweet becoming stuck in a child's throat.’
    • ‘Sugar dissolves easily in water; oil does not.’
    • ‘He popped it into his mouth and let it dissolve on his tongue.’
    • ‘It is a fast-working, fog-free, stain-free agent that dissolves easily in cold water, keeps extremely well and produces negatives of very high acutance.’
    • ‘Whatever cleaner you decide to use, give the product or solution time to dissolve and degrease shower walls.’
    • ‘The monasteries were to disappear like sugar dissolves in hot liquid.’
    • ‘They dissolve more easily in, for example, sodium dodecyl sulfate or ethanol.’
    • ‘As it dissolved on my tongue, I found new inspiration.’
    • ‘Either way, you must warm the solution until the curds dissolve.’
    go into solution, become a solution, break down
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    1. 1.1no object (of something abstract, especially a feeling) disappear.
      ‘my courage dissolved’
      • ‘When this attitude, which maintains duality, is allowed to not be formed, to disappear, to dissolve, to vanish - what is left?’
      • ‘Long, graceful fingers were still entangled in his hair, massaging the base of his neck tenderly, and Ikeda's worries dissolved, his fears fading.’
      • ‘However, the demonstrators appeared satisfied with the mayor's decision to have the booth removed and the crowd eventually dissolved.’
      • ‘But these settlements eventually dissolved and disappeared.’
      • ‘They drifted into hostility towards the Tory leader Sir Robert Peel, and dissolved with his fall in 1846.’
      • ‘Liszt felt a part of him crumble and dissolve, and he suddenly felt empty.’
      • ‘The boundaries between the play and the audience dissolved further when a woman in the crowd began sobbing and flailing her arms.’
      • ‘And then we dissolved back into the crowd, as if we'd never been there, which we might as well not have been.’
      • ‘He is frightened, but seeing the picture of the duchess, Maria Pagés, his worry dissolves as he falls in love with her beauty.’
      • ‘Imaginary rashes disappeared, ear infections dissolved, and all manner of fictitious itches, maladies and debilitating viruses were vanquished.’
      • ‘But his trail of thoughts quickly dissolved as he spotted the disappearing red spots on her neck.’
      • ‘Two particular universal rights rapidly dissolving in the New Orleans Superdome were racial and sexual equality.’
      • ‘The agreement dissolved so easily because both sides had their own interpretations of vague elements, distorting their intended meaning.’
      • ‘Indeed, I'm sure Brenton would love to say that his case dissolved with the death - or disappearance - of Dino, the kidnapper.’
      • ‘He had a kind face full of laughter and merriment, but when on his wrong side the merriment subsided and the laughter dissolved until only a slight semblance of his true self was seen.’
      • ‘With no coalition partner, the Society dissolved as France fell into radicalism.’
      • ‘But the tableau dissolved and the moment passed.’
      • ‘Only this system was dissolving now that Peter was sleeping less and waking earlier, and the days and nights seem to run together into one long, dark passage of time- and Peter had picked up a lot of information.’
      • ‘Lies were dissolving - even his own had disappeared.’
      • ‘Without being free of thought, without the thinking having dissolved, vanished, disappeared, there is no way to be liberated or enlightened.’
      disappear, vanish, melt away, evaporate, disperse, dissipate, disintegrate
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    2. 1.2no object Subside uncontrollably into (an expression of strong feelings)
      ‘she suddenly dissolved into floods of tears’
      • ‘Kate dissolved into giggles as she tucked the slightly soggy Kleenex into her own pocket.’
      • ‘I told Bud about it when I did get home this evening and he dissolved in chuckles.’
      • ‘Abby stood up and started to read a poem that my Nan had written but after two lines she dissolved in tears and my sister went up and rescued her.’
      • ‘We have nice, reasonable expectations and they say "No!" or they simply dissolve into tears.’
      • ‘She seemed to dissolve into hysterical fits of laughter when she looked at me.’
      • ‘I can't watch it without dissolving in laughter.’
      • ‘She added a wry smile as three slightly confused expressions dissolved quickly into delighted laughter.’
      • ‘His usual good humored expression had dissolved into one of annoyance and displeasure.’
      • ‘She gave him a false smile and dissolved into a bout of strong tears, overwhelmed with emotion of such change that had taken place and yearning for her real home, the home she belonged in.’
      • ‘Scott's puzzled expression dissolved into an annoyed one.’
      • ‘The audience of hardbitten journalists dissolved in laughter.’
      • ‘Taxpayers can start to dissolve in tears, also.’
      • ‘The tributes were so effusive that Speaker Martin had to order a halt before the House dissolved in tears.’
      • ‘Her laugh sounded strained and quickly dissolved into tears.’
      • ‘My colleague and I looked at each other and then dissolved into helpless laughter.’
      • ‘What a sight it was and the assembled company dissolved into fits of laughter.’
      • ‘"Yes, " she managed to choke out before dissolving into giggles.’
      • ‘I simply dissolved back into laughter and he did the same.’
      • ‘To Robert's shock Thomas dissolved into violent sobs, his body jolting and shaking.’
      burst into, break into, collapse into, break down into
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    3. 1.3no object (in a movie) change gradually to (a different scene or picture)
      ‘dissolve to side view, looking down the street’
      • ‘This is followed by a slow pan across a stretch of blank wall, dissolving to a shot of Alexandra in the shower; but before we see this we can already hear the sound of running water, mixed with her weeping.’
      • ‘I could have taken the last shot of Preminger's film and started after dissolving to the title, ‘Three Years Later.’’
      • ‘The scene dissolves to her riding her horse in reality, lost in the speed and the feeling of total communication with an animal of another species.’
      • ‘The poem begins in medium range… Then the scene dissolves to a North African desert where the truncated legs of a statue, brutal and totemic, loom up at center screen.’
      • ‘The scene dissolves to a private library where a calendar reads ‘June 2045.’’
      • ‘Similarly, a shot of Overbeck raising her hands after a goal-saving play dissolves to an image of her holding her child.’
      • ‘As the editor narrates his story, the image slowly dissolves into the scene he's talking about involving ‘Officer Kockenlocker.’’
      • ‘Then he dissolves to an almost identical angle, again of himself in profile, carrying the lines he is speaking over the dissolve in mid-sentence to indicate temporal continuity.’
      • ‘From the moment J.B. and Constance first move together to kiss, and Hitchcock dissolves to a hall of opening doors, we enter a surreal world that might be only safely explored as a dream.’
      • ‘Soon the chorus joins in, silhouetted row above row in glowing orange ovals behind a black backdrop before the whole thing dissolves to a street scene.’
  • 2with object Close down or dismiss (an assembly or official body)

    ‘the country's president can dissolve parliament under certain circumstances’
    • ‘The response of MacMahon's government of ‘moral Order’ was to counter-attack by dissolving the Assembly and unleashing a punitive purge of local officials and associations.’
    • ‘The President has dissolved the Assembly and appealed to the people and the army; he establishes universal suffrage, and has arrested his political opponents.’
    • ‘These include the capacity to block legislation, sack governments, dissolve parliament, assume executive power and take control of the armed forces.’
    • ‘Under the 1997 Constitution, Iloilo, as President, can dissolve the elected parliament and call new elections.’
    • ‘Subsequently, the president dissolves Congress and imposes martial law on the country.’
    • ‘It is widely agreed that the monarch must generally agree to a request from the Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament.’
    • ‘The president was empowered to appoint ministers and dissolve the assembly, holding a monopoly of executive power.’
    • ‘Khamenei reacted with the barely disguised threat to dissolve parliament or dismiss the government.’
    • ‘After the meeting was dissolved, some councillors and members of the Feds Executive remained to discuss several issues.’
    • ‘A state assembly being dissolved is big news, sure.’
    • ‘He is a constitutional monarch with the power to dissolve the legislative assembly, which is known as the Fono.’
    • ‘De Gaulle decided to keep on his prime minister and dissolved the Assembly instead.’
    • ‘He also claimed that because a president does not have the right to dissolve the Assembly, the government is driven into a corner and the administration is not properly managed.’
    • ‘Since the state assembly was dissolved, the Modi government has been systematically delisting camps and cutting down on supplies to them.’
    • ‘Nkrumah and all his ministers were dismissed, the CPP and National Assembly were dissolved, and the constitution was suspended.’
    • ‘The cabinet would also resign, and a junta led by an unnamed general would dissolve the congress.’
    • ‘Since then it has dissolved the assembly and imposed direct rule.’
    • ‘There are reports that government plans to dissolve the assembly and wants to hold polls shortly.’
    • ‘It is not at all democratic to dissolve an elected assembly before its time has expired.’
    • ‘After the party prevented Deuba from seeking the extension to the emergency in parliament, Deuba dissolved the assembly for elections two years ahead of schedule.’
    disband, disestablish, dismiss
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    1. 2.1 Annul or put an end to (a partnership or marriage)
      ‘it only takes 28 days to dissolve a domestic partnership’
      • ‘There will be a mechanism for dissolving partnerships, similar to divorce for married couples and it will oblige provision to be made for the maintenance of a partner's children should the partnership be dissolved.’
      • ‘In 1974, The Beatles legally dissolved their partnership.’
      • ‘Under this form of divorce, the woman can dissolve the marriage in the privacy of the home without going to court.’
      • ‘In August 1864 the judge ordered, among other things, that the partnership be dissolved.’
      • ‘In 1433, John's wife Alice Russell took him to court claiming he was impotent and demanding the marriage be dissolved.’
      • ‘Secondly, with respect to married people, if the marriage was dissolved by divorce after the will was witnessed, the will is void.’
      • ‘The partnership was dissolved by 1905, and Barnsley withdrew from the workshop.’
      • ‘As soon as a husband dissolved his marriage, he had to settle all financial obligations towards his former wife.’
      • ‘In July 1734 Heidegger dissolved the partnership and handed over the lease of the King's Theatre to the Opera of the Nobility.’
      • ‘Limiting a career during marriage, for example, was not the basis for adequate compensation if the marriage was dissolved.’
      • ‘So we got the whole thing annulled, dissolving the marriage as if it never took place.’
      • ‘I told him I was dissolving the partnership, then I was made bankrupt.’
      • ‘But divorce is still not easy when one spouse objects to dissolving the marriage.’
      • ‘Through Ezra's efforts, these mixed marriages are dissolved.’
      • ‘If a marriage is dissolved, the reduced investment in a career is potentially only costly to the spouse emphasizing housework.’
      • ‘Generally, church courts do not dissolve marriages, but annul them by declaring that no genuine marriage took place.’
      • ‘Their marriage was dissolved after less than a year.’
      • ‘He and his brother fell out when their farm partnership was dissolved.’
      • ‘The marriage is dissolved if it existed, but has come to an end - ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’.’
      • ‘She also dissolved her marriage with Buck, never a satisfying relationship, and returned to America.’
      disperse, disband, break up, split up, separate, scatter, go their separate ways, go in different directions, disjoin
      annul, nullify, void
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  • (in a movie) an act or instance of moving gradually from one picture to another.

    • ‘As we watch the bloody water circle down the drain, Hitchcock makes the famous dissolve to Marion's eye.’
    • ‘Reel-change markers have been removed, and scene transitions and dissolves are mostly smooth.’
    • ‘This makes for a natural dissolve to the internal workings of the company and, specifically, the Colet boardroom, in which Madame Colet is meeting with her governing board.’
    • ‘What starts out as another dissolve to a long shot - that of a man walking toward the camera - stops midway.’
    • ‘We see how helicopters were used, how scenes were composed, and the before-and-after dissolves of scenes.’
    • ‘He uses split screens, dissolves and transitions to capture the action in the water.’
    • ‘Opticals can be used for style (as in Star Wars to mimic the 50's matinee episode nature of the narrative) or for effect - using dissolves to show the passage of time.’
    • ‘The camera tilts up towards the roof as snows falls, its gradual whiteness merging into a dissolve to an image of a white screen, which lingers on-screen for a moment before we are cued by the music that the film is over.’
    • ‘What works worst is using the technique as a clunky dissolve to segue between scenes.’
    • ‘Obviously the faster the processor the better (to allow transitions such as dissolves to be built quickly).’


Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘break down into component parts’): from Latin dissolvere, from dis- ‘apart’ + solvere ‘loosen or solve’.