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Dissemble vs Disassemble

By Judy Vorfeld

Dictionaries say that to dis­sem­ble is to hide under a false appear­ance, con­ceal facts, inten­tions, or feel­ings under some pretense.

Hmm, what could we use as exam­ples? How about peo­ple in the pub­lic eye? Like the occa­sional politi­cian. Or CEO. Then there’s the sweet, inno­cent face of a six-year-old who has a choco­late mus­tache, but looks into his parent’s eyes with pure inno­cence and says, “I really, really, really didn’t drink the choco­late milk. Jacob did.”

Dictionaries explain that dis­as­sem­ble means to take apart, e.g., to dis­as­sem­ble a watch com­puter, or to come apart, e.g., the crowd began to come apart.

Disassembling some­thing is nei­ther good or bad. Unless it’s a cute lit­tle child who dis­as­sem­bles a din­ing room chair right before her par­ents hold a for­mal din­ner. When later con­fronted, the child dis­sem­bles and says, “I really, really, really didn’t take the chair apart. Jacob did.” This is known as dis­sem­bling about disassembling.

Poor Jacob.


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