Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To disguise or conceal behind a false appearance. See Synonyms at disguise.
  • transitive v. To make a false show of; feign.
  • intransitive v. To disguise or conceal one's real nature, motives, or feelings behind a false appearance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To disguise or conceal something; to feign.
  • v. To deliberately ignore something; to pretend not to notice.
  • v. To falsely hide one's opinions or feelings.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To hide under a false semblance or seeming; to feign (something) not to be what it really is; to put an untrue appearance upon; to disguise; to mask.
  • transitive v. To put on the semblance of; to make pretense of; to simulate; to feign.
  • intransitive v. To conceal the real fact, motives, intention, or sentiments, under some pretense; to assume a false appearance; to act the hypocrite.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make unlike; cause to look different; disguise.
  • To give a false impression about; cause to seem different or non-existent; mask under a false pretense or deceptive manner.
  • To put on the semblance of; simulate; pretend.
  • To assume the appearance of; appear like; imitate.
  • Synonyms Dissemble, Simulate, Dissimulate Disguise, cloak, cover. (See hide.) To dissemble is to pretend that a thing which is is not: as, to dissemble one's real sentiments. To simulate is to pretend that a thing which is not is: as, to simulate friendship. To dissimulate is to hide the reality or truth of something under a diverse or contrary appearance: as, to dissimulate one's poverty by ostentation. To disguise is to put under a false guise, to keep a thing from being recognized by giving it a false appearance: as, I cannot disguise from myself the fact. See dissembler and conceal.
  • To give a false appearance; make a deceptive impression or presentation.
  • To assume a false seeming; conceal the real fact, motives, intention, or sentiments under some pretense; mask the truth about one's self.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. behave unnaturally or affectedly
  • v. make believe with the intent to deceive
  • v. hide under a false appearance

Etymologies

Middle English dissemblen, from Old French dessembler, to be different : des-, dis- + sembler, to appear, seem; see semblable.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dissimulare. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I really enjoy it, I like doing it, I like composing music that I can kind of dissemble and say “what are different ways of telling the same musical story but making the middle something that is sorta indeterminate.”

    Marty O'Donnell in Interview - Part 2

  • Use the word, "dissemble" or "disingenuous," if you will, but let's call it what it really is.

    Tom D'Antoni: Sen. Clinton's Own Religious Cult Includes Brownback, Santorum

  • Waaa-al I dunno, Kerry seems to have read a few books and done some thinking since graduation, Bush on the other hand scowls petulantly and cannot use the word "dissemble" correctly in a sentence - a challenge that my eleven year old niece would sneer at.

    The Chimes at Midnight

  • STEWART: Actually, Mr. President, "dissemble" means to not tell the truth.

    CNN Transcript Jun 3, 2005

  • Giles Fraser decides to not listen and instead assert (or might we be controvesial and say "dissemble") that the Pope has condemned gay

    An Exercise in the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy

  • But please: can't ever say they lied (the approved usage is "dissemble"), and for Chrissake, don't even think impeachment or criminal proceedings.

    WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

  • Look, everyone knows that presidents care who succeeds them in the Senate, even if they kind of dissemble a little bit or don't tell the whole story? "

    Giving Us the Business

  • It is not surprising to hear the Bachmann's dissemble.

    Wayne Besen: Leading GOP Candidates Run Away From the Gay

  • By 2009, he certainly knew better, but so invested was he in the story, and so useful had it been in his rise, that he continued to dissemble, even before millions of schoolchildren.

    Deconstructing Obama

  • Long after Tillman's nationally televised memorial service, the Army grudgingly notified his closest relatives that he had "probably" been killed by friendly fire while it continued to dissemble about the details of his death and who was responsible.

    Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer: Book summary

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