Definition of mutilate in English:



  • 1 Inflict a violent and disfiguring injury on.

    ‘the leg was badly mutilated’
    ‘mutilated bodies’
    • ‘Once again, scenes of explosions and mutilated bodies are back in our streets.’
    • ‘Press reports said the bodies had been deliberately mutilated.’
    • ‘Identification was proving difficult because some of the bodies were severely mutilated.’
    • ‘The bodies of the victims were mutilated beyond recognition.’
    • ‘How is it right to encourage people to mutilate their bodies?’
    • ‘They were both killed a few days later and their bodies mutilated.’
    • ‘The military rounded up tens of thousands of people, torturing and mutilating many of the prisoners.’
    • ‘According to the police the face of the slain person was hit with a boulder and it was badly mutilated.’
    • ‘When the sisters' father went to the morgue to check, he found his daughter had not only been killed, but her body had been horrifically mutilated.’
    • ‘He is one of Scotland's most revered monarchs yet his body was mutilated and his head used as a football by the English foe.’
    • ‘Two of the dead were so badly mutilated no one had been able to identify them and they lay unclaimed, he said.’
    • ‘There was a moment's pause, a profuse apology, then they resumed their efforts to mutilate the body.’
    • ‘‘It kills the living, destroys their flesh and mutilates the bodies of those already dead,’ he says.’
    • ‘Police also said several of the corpses had their faces badly mutilated from the gunshot wounds.’
    • ‘You also mutilated the dead bodies of our soldiers and treated them with indescribable indignities.’
    • ‘He said the second person killed, whose body was severely mutilated, may have been the man carrying the bomb.’
    • ‘He slashed her throat with a knife then mutilated her body and face.’
    • ‘But now that he is dead, his body mutilated almost beyond recognition, it seems right to recall what he said.’
    • ‘Many of the bodies were so mutilated that identification was difficult.’
    • ‘David says his aunt and uncle were killed as they tried to escape and their bodies were mutilated.’
    mangle, maim, disfigure, cut to pieces, cut up, hack up, butcher, dismember, tear limb from limb, tear apart, lacerate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Inflict serious damage on.
      ‘the 14th-century church had been partly mutilated in the 18th century’
      • ‘Although badly mutilated by quarrying, some of the defences can still be traced, especially on the north and north-west sides.’
      • ‘Were the images destroyed, desecrated or mutilated because they were potent or impotent?’
      vandalize, damage, deface, spoil, mar, ruin, destroy, wreck, violate, desecrate
      View synonyms


Early 16th century: from Latin mutilat- maimed, mutilated, lopped off from the verb mutilare, from mutilus maimed.