Definition of dissimilate in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈsiməˌlāt/


[with object] Linguistics
1Change (a sound in a word) in order to be unlike the sounds near it: in “pilgrim,” from Latin “peregrinus,” the first “r” is dissimilated to “l.”
More example sentences
  • In pilgrim, from Latin peregrinus, the first r is dissimilated to l.
  • If the stem ends in l, the ending -na is dissimilated to -da:
1.1 [no object] (Of a sound) undergo dissimilation: the first “r” dissimilates to “l.”
More example sentences
  • In roots with two aspirated stops, the first dissimilates to an unaspirate stop.
  • Robert Blust in this journal in 1996 drew attention to a process in a number of widely separated Oceanic languages in which the first a of an aCa sequence dissimilates to a higher vowel.



Pronunciation: /dəˌsiməˈlāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • However, PEPCK was also present in the flesh of blueberries, raspberries, and redcurrants when there was no dissimilation of malate or citrate, and this raises the possibility that PEPCK might have additional functions.
  • In aquatic systems these processes are two orders of magnitude slower than assimilation and dissimilation.
  • In some of these languages the rule is still productive, while others show only historical dissimilation.


Pronunciation: /-ləˌtôrē/
Example sentences
  • The ability to use Fe 3 + and S 0 as terminal electron acceptors, while oxidizing organic contaminants to yield carbon dioxide, is shared by most of these dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria.
  • Dissimilatory sulfate respiration is one of the most primitive pathways for energy production.
  • Dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria (DMRB), which are ubiquitous in soils and aquifers, couple.


Mid 19th century: from dis- (expressing reversal) + Latin similis 'like, similar', on the pattern of assimilate.

Words that rhyme with dissimilate


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dis·sim·i·late

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