Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[dih-sem-buh l] /dɪˈsɛm bəl/
verb (used with object), dissembled, dissembling.
to give a false or misleading appearance to; conceal the truth or real nature of:
to dissemble one's incompetence in business.
to put on the appearance of; feign:
to dissemble innocence.
Obsolete. to let pass unnoticed; ignore.
verb (used without object), dissembled, dissembling.
to conceal one's true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.
Origin of dissemble
1490-1500; alteration (by association with obsolete semble to resemble) of Middle English dissimulen < Latin dissimulāre. See dis-1, simulate
Related forms
dissembler, noun
dissemblingly, adverb
undissembled, adjective
undissembling, adjective
undissemblingly, adverb
well-dissembled, adjective
Can be confused
disassemble, dissemble.
1. mask, hide, camouflage, dissimulate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for dissemble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But a sudden sense of shame at being compelled to dissemble before a subordinate had lashed him across the face.

    A Man's Woman Frank Norris
  • She had meant to wait; but, with his keen eyes on her, she could not dissemble.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • To dissemble for a month or so would not hurt him, and might even amuse him as a new game.

    Halcyone Elinor Glyn
  • It was hard to dissemble still, to tempt him to say something that would madden me!

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • I needed not dissemble an astonishment, for I was as much amazed to see him there, as if I had not known he was in the House.

  • The contempt he did not trouble to dissemble served but to goad them on.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • He said that he stood ready to pray, toil, dissemble, plot like a fox and fight like a tiger.

British Dictionary definitions for dissemble


to conceal (one's real motives, emotions, etc) by pretence
(transitive) to pretend; simulate
(obsolete) to ignore
Derived Forms
dissemblance, noun
dissembler, noun
dissembling, noun, adjective
dissemblingly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from earlier dissimulen, from Latin dissimulāre; probably influenced by obsolete semble to resemble
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dissemble

early 15c. (implied in dissemblable), apparently a variant of Middle English dissimule (influenced by Middle French dessembler or English resemble), late 14c., from Old French dissimuler, from Latin dissimulare (see dissimulation). Related: Dissembled; dissembling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dissemble

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dissemble

Scrabble Words With Friends