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

  • transitive v. To cause to pass into solution: dissolve salt in water.
  • transitive v. To reduce (solid matter) to liquid form; melt.
  • transitive v. To cause to disappear or vanish; dispel.
  • transitive v. To break into component parts; disintegrate.
  • transitive v. To bring to an end by or as if by breaking up; terminate.
  • transitive v. To dismiss (a legislative body, for example): dissolved parliament and called for new elections.
  • transitive v. To cause to break down emotionally or psychologically; upset.
  • transitive v. To cause to lose definition; blur; confuse: "Morality has finally been dissolved in pity” ( Leslie Fiedler).
  • transitive v. Law To annul; abrogate.
  • intransitive v. To pass into solution.
  • intransitive v. To become liquid; melt.
  • intransitive v. To break up or disperse.
  • intransitive v. To become disintegrated; disappear.
  • intransitive v. To be overcome emotionally or psychologically: I dissolved into helpless laughter.
  • intransitive v. To lose clarity or definition; fade away.
  • intransitive v. To shift shots in a motion-picture film or videotape by having one shot fade out while the next appears behind it and grows clearer as the first one dims.
  • n. A transition in a motion-picture film or videotape made by fading out one shot while the next one grows clearer. Also called lap dissolve.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To terminate a union of multiple members actively, as by disbanding
  • v. To destroy, make disappear
  • v. To liquify, melt into a fluid
  • v. To be melted, changed into a fluid
  • v. (transitive) To disintegrate chemically into a solution by immersion into a liquid or gas.
  • v. (intransitive) To be disintegrated by such immersion.
  • v. To disperse, drive apart a group of persons.
  • v. (intransitive) To shift from one shot to another by having the former fade out as the latter fades in.
  • v. To resolve itself as by dissolution
  • n. A film punctuation in which there is a gradual transition from one scene to the next.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To waste away; to be dissipated; to be decomposed or broken up.
  • intransitive v. To become fluid; to be melted; to be liquefied.
  • intransitive v. To fade away; to fall to nothing; to lose power.
  • transitive v. To separate into competent parts; to disorganize; to break up; hence, to bring to an end by separating the parts, sundering a relation, etc.; to terminate; to destroy; to deprive of force
  • transitive v. To break the continuity of; to disconnect; to disunite; to sunder; to loosen; to undo; to separate.
  • transitive v. To convert into a liquid by means of heat, moisture, etc.,; to melt; to liquefy; to soften.
  • transitive v. To solve; to clear up; to resolve.
  • transitive v. To relax by pleasure; to make powerless.
  • transitive v. To annul; to rescind; to discharge or release.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To liquefy by the disintegrating action of a fluid; separate and diffuse the particles of, as a solid body in a liquid; make a solution of: as, water dissolves salt and sugar; to dissolve resin in alcohol; to dissolve a gas in a liquid. See solution.
  • In general, to melt; liquefy by means of heat or moisture; soften by or cover with moisture: chiefly figurative and poetical. See melt.
  • To disunite; break up; separate into parts; loosen the connection of; destroy, as any connected system or body, or a union of feeling, interests, etc.; put an end to: as, to dissolve a government; to dissolve Parliament; to dissolve an alliance; to dissolve the bonds of friendship.
  • To explain; resolve; solve.
  • To destroy the power of; deprive of force; annul; abrogate: as, to dissolve a charm or spell; to dissolve an injunction.
  • To consume; cause to vanish or perish; end by dissolution; destroy, as by fire.
  • Synonyms Thaw, Fuse., etc. See melt.
  • To become fluid; be disintegrated and absorbed by a fluid; be converted from a solid to a fluid state: as, sugar dissolves in water.
  • To be disintegrated by or as if by heat or force; melt or crumble; waste away.
  • To become relaxed; lose force or strength; melt or sink away from weakness or languor.
  • To separate; break up: as, the council dissolved; Parliament dissolved.
  • To break up or pass away by degrees; disappear gradually; fade from sight or apprehension: as, dissolving views (see view); his prospects were rapidly dissolving.

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

  • v. cause to lose control emotionally
  • v. stop functioning or cohering as a unit
  • v. become or cause to become soft or liquid
  • v. become weaker
  • v. cause to go into a solution
  • v. bring the association of to an end or cause to break up
  • n. (film) a gradual transition from one scene to the next; the next scene is gradually superimposed as the former scene fades out
  • v. lose control emotionally
  • v. pass into a solution
  • v. come to an end
  • v. declare void
  • v. cause to fade away


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

Middle English dissolven, from Latin dissolvere : dis-, dis- + solvere, to release; see leu- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since c.1374, from Latin dissolvere "to loosen up, break apart", itself from dis- "apart" + solvere "to loose, loosen"



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  • "The room had six shower heads. Hot water flowed from all of them. The steam was so thick that his neck was perspiring. At first he couldn't see her. Then she walked backward out of the shower. She lathered herself up, using a long curved brush with a wooden handle. Methodically. Gradually she dissolved in a thin layer of bubbles. She went back into the steam, dissolved completely, and disappeared."

    - 'The Quiet Girl', Peter Høeg.

    March 18, 2008

  • The process by which you lose the solution to a problem.

    October 22, 2007