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[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.
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.
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Examples from the web for dissembled
  • He blithered and dissembled, a picture of petulant indecision.
  • The laptop design is such that it can be dissembled without tools in under two minutes.
  • Occasionally, he told stories to his dinner guests, and usually he lied or dissembled in the telling.
  • Or, in the beginning, they frantically dissembled about what was so clearly visible.
  • But he dissembled-hating the need to be devious-when they asked why he had chosen to live in the austere missionary-run school.
  • At first he dissembled his heresies, but by degrees his extravagant doctrines came to light.
  • The fuel selector valve was dissembled and visually inspected with no anomalies noted.
  • We had dissembled these interactions into several dozen molecular features that could be reliably coded and counted.
  • The more pertinent inquiry is whether the item can be readily dissembled and moved.
  • It is certainly possible that he has dissembled about some aspects of his story, perhaps to counter suspicion.
British Dictionary definitions for dissembled


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
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Word Origin and History for dissembled



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
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