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[dis-fig-yer; British dis-fig-er] /dɪsˈfɪg yər; British dɪsˈfɪg ər/
verb (used with object), disfigured, disfiguring.
to mar the appearance or beauty of; deform; deface:
Our old towns are increasingly disfigured by tasteless new buildings.
to mar the effect or excellence of:
His reputation was disfigured by instances of political favoritism.
Origin of disfigure
1325-75; Middle English disfiguren < Anglo-French, Old French desfigurer, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -figurer, verbal derivative of figure figure
Related forms
disfigurer, noun
undisfigured, adjective
1. spoil, blemish. See mar.
1. beautify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for disfigure
  • Donation does not disfigure the body and will not change its appearance in a casket.
  • Severe infestation may distort and disfigure foliage.
  • In general, the autopsy will not disfigure the body and it will be perfectly suitable for funeral viewing.
  • Chlorotic spots disfigure fruit and lesions may cause tree dieback.
  • Anthracnose diseases can also disfigure trees when infected twigs and branches die.
  • They disfigure landscape and make land unfit for growing crops.
  • Although inexpensive methods of marking, both punching and perforating damage and disfigure materials.
  • Some of these agents are intentional, such as criminals who steal or disfigure objects.
  • They disfigure landscape and make the land unfit for growing crops.
  • These diseases rarely are fatal but often disfigure or cripple affected persons by invading their skin, bones, and cartilage.
British Dictionary definitions for disfigure


verb (transitive)
to spoil the appearance or shape of; deface
to mar the effect or quality of
Derived Forms
disfigurer, 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 disfigure

late 14c., from Old French desfigurer "disfigure, alter, disguise, destroy," from Medieval Latin diffigurare, from Latin dis- (see dis-) + figura "figure," from figurare "to figure" (see figure (n.)). Related: Disfigured; disfiguring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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