Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 4, 2021 is:

dissociate • dih-SOH-shee-ayt  • verb

1 : to separate from association or union with another

2 : disunite; specifically : to subject to chemical dissociation

3 : to undergo dissociation

4 : to mutate especially reversibly


Although both politicians are members of the same party, the Senator is trying to dissociate herself from the unpopular governor.

“It’s the sort of transformative role that allows an actor to dissociate from their usual aesthetic. In the film, Hartnett is almost unrecognizable with his shaggy hair and mustache (which was only partially real).” — Emily Zemler, The New York Observer, 23 July 2020

Did you know?

Dissociate and its synonym disassociate can both mean “to separate from association or union with another.” Associate is from Latin ad-, meaning “to,” and sociare, meaning “to join.” Dis- in this case means “do the opposite of,” so both dissociate and disassociate indicate severing that which is united. Some commentators, however, argue that disassociate is illogical because it indicates separating and uniting simultaneously. Dissociate is slightly older, appearing in the late 16th century, whereas early evidence of disassociate is found in the beginning decade of the next century. Dissociate is recommended by a number of commentators on the basis that it is shorter, which it is by a grand total of two letters—not the firmest ground for an endorsement. Both words are in current good use, but disassociate is used more often in the U.S.

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