Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To rip, cut, or tear.
  • transitive v. To cause deep emotional pain to; distress.
  • adj. Torn; mangled.
  • adj. Wounded.
  • adj. Having jagged, deeply cut edges: lacerate leaves.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To tear, rip or wound.
  • v. To thoroughly defeat; to thrash
  • adj. Jagged, as if torn or lacerated.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Rent; torn; mangled.
  • adj. Jagged, or slashed irregularly, at the end, or along the edge.
  • transitive v. To tear; to rend; to separate by tearing; to mangle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To tear roughly; mangle in rending or violently tearing apart: as, to lacerate the flesh; a lacerated wound.
  • Figuratively, to torture; harrow: as, to lacerate one's feelings.
  • Rent; torn: specifically applied (from natural appearance) in botany (also lacerated) to a leaf having the edge variously cut into irregular segments, and in anatomy to three foramina at the base of the cranium. See below.

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

  • adj. having edges that are jagged from injury
  • v. cut or tear irregularly
  • adj. irregularly slashed and jagged as if torn
  • v. deeply hurt the feelings of; distress

Etymologies

Middle English laceraten, from Latin lacerāre, lacerāt-, from lacer, torn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English laceraten, from Latin lacerātus, past participle of lacerō. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They try to perforate the uterus, to get the foetus out, but often lacerate the cervix along the way, so many bleed heavily or leave tissue in the womb which becomes infected.

    Unsafe abortion in Zambia

  • In the final minutes of her first Supreme Court term, Justice Elena Kagan delivered a full-blast dissent, using pointed, colloquial, sometimes sarcastic language rarely seen from the court's liberal minority to lacerate the conservative majority in a campaign-finance case.

    Kagan Gives New Life to Court's Liberal Wing

  • The star of I Love You Phillip Morris, The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind teams up with the primed-for-prime-time players to lacerate today's headline-splashing people and events.

    Tonight's TV Hot List: Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011

  • Too many people are literal e.g. they removed my 2 inch swiss with nail scissors but I was given a 5 inch steel knife [not plastic which can still lacerate skin] to cut my bread, oh! well! you ‘figger’, follow blindly orders.

    Living In A Police State – (Thank Goodness). « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • When the social stakes were higher, her words could lacerate.

    Geisha Doll

  • In medieval prisons, inmates were punished with a device called a "cat-o'-nine-tails" -- a whip made of nine knotted thongs of cord designed to lacerate the skin and cause intense pain.

    How Does Ringling Bros. Make Elephants Do That?

  • The quick session produced no jams, no misdirected shots, and best of all, no springs flying through the air looking for a face to lacerate.

    Paradise General

  • "Blue Valentine," the auspicious directorial debut of Derek Cianfrance, can be crushing in its portrayal of how two people who truly do love each other come to lacerate and eventually devastate each other.

    I Love You, Brave, Bracing 'Blue Valentine'

  • Seems like Obama just campaigns, and Hillary blindly mimics any action of his she thinks will get her positive publicity, while staying in attack mode (read: lie, disagree with every well-educated economic expert on economic proposals, pander for votes, campaign negatively, lacerate own party) at all other times.

    Clinton loves America because of Tivo

  • A lacrosse ball hurts more, but at least doesn't lacerate the skin, like a cricket ball can

    विमल, or meet Vimal, India's pulp hero

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.