Definition of dissimilate in English:


transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Linguistics
    Change (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.”’
    • ‘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. 1.1no object (of a sound) undergo dissimilation.
      ‘the first “r” dissimilates to “l.”’
      • ‘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.’



/dəˈsiməˌlāt/ /dəˈsɪməˌleɪt/


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