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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.
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.
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Examples from the Web for dissembler
Historical Examples
  • It was with a pang at his heart that he returned to his old thought of her being possibly a finished coquette and dissembler.

    A Laodicean Thomas Hardy
  • Balboa was something of a dissembler himself on occasion, as you will see.

    South American Fights and Fighters Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • All of these would only render the young man a dissembler, and would compel him to choose another confidant.

    Beauty Alexander Walker
  • He was not a hypocrite, indeed, as to his virtues—a dissembler only in his ambition.

  • Do you think, in earnest, I could be satisfied the world should think me a dissembler, full of avarice or ambition?

    A Letter Book George Saintsbury
  • At last, as he was no dissembler, he burst out passionately, "Why are you my enemy?"

    Hard Cash Charles Reade
  • He certainly dealt not with himself in the manner of a dissembler with God.

    Seekers after God Frederic William Farrar
  • Vile Cozener, Cheater and dissembler, now indeed we both are caught.

    The Stolen Heiress Susanna Centlivre
  • I have seen many as young brawlers and spendthrifts, but never as young and accomplished a dissembler.

    The Fortunes of Nigel Sir Walter Scott
  • Becket may have been a dissembler, or a great change may have been wrought in his character.

British Dictionary definitions for dissembler


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 dissembler

1520s, agent noun from 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
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