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[dis-uh-peer] /ˌdɪs əˈpɪər/
verb (used without object)
to cease to be seen; vanish from sight.
to cease to exist or be known; pass away; end gradually:
One by one the symptoms disappeared.
(of a person) to vanish under suspicious circumstances:
The dictator's outspoken opponent disappeared that evening, shortly after midnight.
verb (used with object)
to cause to disappear:
The magician then disappeared the card.
to kidnap or arrest and then imprison or kill (a political opponent) without due process of law.
noun, (used with a plural verb)
the disappeared, political opponents who are caused to disappear, as by kidnapping:
the disappeared of Argentina.
1520-30; dis-1 + appear
Related forms
nondisappearing, adjective
undisappearing, adjective
1. Disappear, fade, vanish suggest that something passes from sight. Disappear is used of whatever suddenly or gradually goes out of sight: We watched him turn down a side street and then disappear. Fade suggests a (complete or partial) disappearance that proceeds gradually and often by means of a blending into something else: Colors in the sky at sunrise quickly fade. Vanish suggests complete, generally rapid, and often mysterious disappearance: A mirage can vanish as suddenly as it appears. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for disappears
  • Then the cheers fade, the city skyline disappears and we're on our way.
  • He disappears into a storage room, then emerges minutes later carrying several objects wrapped in white cloth.
  • Linear time disappears in favor of a poetic meditation upon the object, and within it, a curious juxtaposition of imagery.
  • It may be your last chance before their way of life disappears forever.
  • The elephant spooks, whirls around, disappears with its tail streaming high.
  • He races to trap and study this rare animal before its habitat disappears.
  • It may be your last chance before their way of life disappears.
  • We'll watch it burn in the night sky as it disappears into the blue.
  • First the ability to nap disappears, then the ability to get a full night's sleep, until the patient cannot sleep at all.
  • The earlier the ice disappears, the less time bears have to feed on seals.
British Dictionary definitions for disappears


(intransitive) to cease to be visible; vanish
(intransitive) to go away or become lost, esp secretly or without explanation
(intransitive) to cease to exist, have effect, or be known; become extinct or lost: the pain has disappeared
(transitive) (esp in South and Central America) to arrest secretly and presumably imprison or kill (a member of an opposing political group)
Derived Forms
disappearance, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for disappears



early 15c., disaperen, from dis- "do the opposite of" + appear. Earlier was disparish (early 15c.), from French disparaiss-, stem of disparaître. Related: Disappeared; disappearing; disappears. Slang disappearing act is originally of magic shows; in figurative sense of "getting away" first attested 1913.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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