Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To deprive of a limb or an essential part; cripple.
  • transitive v. To disfigure by damaging irreparably: mutilate a statue. See Synonyms at batter1.
  • transitive v. To make imperfect by excising or altering parts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To physically harm as to impair use, notably by cutting off or otherwise disabling a vital part, such as a limb.
  • v. To destroy beyond recognition.
  • v. To render imperfect.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Deprived of, or having lost, an important part; mutilated.
  • adj. Having finlike appendages or flukes instead of legs, as a cetacean.
  • n. A cetacean, or a sirenian.
  • transitive v. To cut off or remove a limb or essential part of; to maim; to cripple; to disfigure; to hack
  • transitive v. To destroy or remove a material part of, so as to render imperfect.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut off a limb or any important part of; deprive of any characteristic member, feature, or appurtenance, so as to disfigure; maim: as, to mutilate a body or a statue; to mutilate a tree or a picture.
  • Figuratively, to excise, erase, or expunge any important part from, so as to render incomplete or imperfect, as a record or a poem.
  • Synonyms Mutilate, Maim, Cripple, Mangle, Disfigure. Mutilate emphasizes the injury to completeness and to beauty: as, to mulilate a statue. Maim and cripple note the injury to the use of the members of the body, maim suggesting perhaps more of unsightliness, pain, and actual loss of members, and cripple more directly emphasizing the diminished power of action: as, crippled in the left arm. Mangle expresses a badly hacked or torn condition: as, a mangled finger or arm. Disfigure covers simply such changes of the external form as injure its appearance or beauty: one may be fearfully mangled in battle, so as to be disfigured for life, and yet finally escape being mutilated or maimed, or even crippled.
  • Mutilate, Garble, Misquote. To mutilate is to take parts of a thing, so as to leave it imperfect or incomplete; to garble is to take parts of a thing in such a way as to make them convey a false impression; to misquote is to quote incorrectly, whether intentionally or not: as, to mutilate a hymn; to garble a passage from an official report; to garble another's words; to misquote a text of Scripture. Garble has completely lost its primary meaning.
  • . Same as mutilated.
  • Specifically, deprived of hind limbs, as a cetacean or a sirenian. See Mutilata.
  • n. A member of the Mutilata; a cetacean or a sirenian.

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

  • v. alter so as to make unrecognizable
  • v. destroy or injure severely
  • v. destroy or injure severely

Etymologies

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

Latin mutilāre, mutilāt-, from mutilus, maimed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin mutilatus, the past participle of mutilare 'to mutilate', itself from mutilus 'maimed'

Examples

  • I use the word mutilate, because while it may be artistic to you, lets face it, clinically speaking, its mutilation to everyone else.

    Yahoo! Answers: Latest Questions

  • As for the instinct to mutilate, that is as easily accounted for as any other inherited habit, whether of man to mutilate cattle, or of ants to make slaves, or of birds to make their nests.

    Life and Habit

  • Most women who have had hysterectomies to be relieved of painful periods are not going to take kindly to the word's "mutilate" and I wonder how the words used here make breast cancer patients who have lost breasts feel?

    Ashley's Treatment

  • We who do know the whole story in fullest detail will understand that it was desirable to 'mutilate' the book, and that, indeed, truth did in some measure require it.

    Charlotte Brontë and Her Circle

  • Some forums in other countries have expressed horror at how I 'mutilate' my eyelids to make them appear to be double eyelids, but it's really not a big deal.

    Not So Little Girl In A Reverie

  • Let's see, the state wants to keep 10-12 year olds from buying games where they can mutilate and decapitate the opponent, showing war and gang violence, etc.

    High court accepts case over violent video games

  • PETA says breeders often mutilate their birds to give them a stronger chance in the ring, and the group has campaigned against cockfighting in the Philippines in the past.

    The Ultimate Fighters

  • "He won't have assets that grow so big that mutilate that advantage."

    Mining for Hidden Gems Among Funds

  • And later, when the pile caught fire (to mutilate a metaphor), publisher dollars became scarce as they fought to survive massive financial losses.

    Who’s Afraid of Urban Fantasy? «

  • And I can also say that to renew your passport, all you need to do is pay a fee, send a new photo, and mail in your old passport so they can mutilate it.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Second Circuit Due Process Victory for Connecticut Carry Permit Holders

Comments

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  • From the book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. pg.85

    "That I let the capitol kill the boy and mutilate her without lifting a finger."

    November 29, 2010

  • From the book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. pg.85

    "That I let the capitol kill the boy and mutilate her without lifting a finger."

    November 29, 2010

  • “The source of most human violence and suffering has been a

    hidden children's holocaust throughout history, whereby billions

    of innocent human beings have been routinely murdered, bound,

    starved, raped, mutilated, battered and tortured by their parents

    and other caregivers, so that they grow up as emotionally crippled

    adults and become vengeful time bombs who periodically restage

    their early traumas in sacrificial rites called wars.�?

    Lloyd deMause

    July 19, 2009