from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To cut apart or separate (tissue), especially for anatomical study.
- transitive v. To examine, analyze, or criticize in minute detail: dissected the plan afterward to learn why it had failed. See Synonyms at analyze.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To study an animal's anatomy by cutting it apart; to perform a necropsy or an autopsy.
- v. To study a plant or other organism's anatomy similarly.
- v. To analyze an idea in detail by separating it into its parts.
- v. To separate muscles, organs, and so on without cutting into them or disrupting their architecture.
- v. Of an infection or foreign material, following the fascia separating muscles or other organs.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To divide into separate parts; to cut in pieces; to separate and expose the parts of, as an animal or a plant, for examination and to show their structure and relations; to anatomize.
- transitive v. To analyze, for the purposes of science or criticism; to divide and examine minutely.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To cut in pieces; divide into parts with or as with a cutting instrument: as, to dissect a fowl. Specifically
- 2. To cut in pieces, or separate the distinct or elementary parts of, as an animal or a plant, for the purpose of studying its organization or the functions and morbid affections of its organs and tissues; anatomize.
- To examine part by part or point by point; treat or consider piecemeal; analyze, as for the purpose of criticism; describe in detail: as, to dissect a man's character.
- In geology, to cut up or erode (a plateau, mountain, etc.) into numerous irregular valleys or ravines: as, a dissected plateau; a dissected mountain-range.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. cut open or cut apart
- v. make a mathematical, chemical, or grammatical analysis of; break down into components or essential features
Latin dissecāre, dissect-, to cut apart : dis-, dis- + secāre, to cut up; see sek- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dissecare ("to cut asunder, cut up"), from dis- ("asunder") + secare ("to cut"); see section. (Wiktionary)