verb (used with object)

  1. to deprive of limbs; divide limb from limb: The ogre dismembered his victims before he ate them.
  2. to divide into parts; cut to pieces; mutilate.
  3. to reduce, reorganize, or discontinue the services or parts of (a company, government agency, etc.): Our business was dismembered by the conglomerate that bought it.

verb (tr)

  1. to remove the limbs or members of
  2. to cut to pieces
  3. to divide or partition (something, such as an empire)

1751, from dismember + -ment. Earlier formation was dismembration (1590s).


c.1300, from Old French desmembrer (11c.), from Medieval Latin dismembrare “tear limb from limb; castrate,” from Latin de- “take away” + membrum “limb” (see member). Related: Dismembered; dismembering.


  1. To amputate a limb or a part of a limb.

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