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

  • n. The act or process of making or becoming dissimilar.
  • n. Linguistics The process by which one of two similar or identical sounds in a word becomes less like the other, such as the l in English marble (from French marbre).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of dissimilating, of making dissimilar.
  • n. A phenomenon whereby similar consonant or vowel sounds in a word become less similar, resulting in a form that is easier for the listener to perceive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of making dissimilar.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act or process of rendering dissimilar or different.
  • n. Specifically— In philology, the change or substitution or a sound to or for another and a different sound when otherwise two similar sounds would come together or very close to each other, as in Latin alienus for aliinus, Italian pelegrino from Latin peregrinus, English number (= German nummer) from Latin numerus, etc.
  • n. In biology, catabolism (which see): opposed to assimilation.

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

  • n. a linguistic process by which one of two similar sounds in a word becomes less like the other
  • n. breakdown in living organisms of more complex substances into simpler ones together with release of energy


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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