Mutilate is a verb that means to injure or ruin, usually in a brutal or messy way. If you drop a cantaloupe into a wood chipper, you'll mutilate that poor melon, with chunks of fruit and rind flying everywhere.

Mutilate can also mean altering an object so it's unrecognizable. Once you mutilate something, it'll no longer resemble its original form. Celebrities who get too much plastic surgery are said to mutilate their faces, because they no longer look like themselves. Mutilate can also describe causing a disfiguring injury. Monsters and evil villains in horror movies tend to mutilate their victims instead of neatly murdering them.

Definitions of mutilate

v destroy or injure severely

“The madman mutilates art work”
cut up, mangle
Type of:
inflict damage upon

v destroy or injure severely

mutilated bodies”
force out, gouge
force with the thumb
Type of:
injure or wound seriously and leave permanent disfiguration or mutilation

v alter so as to make unrecognizable

mangle, murder
Type of:
distort, falsify, garble, warp
make false by mutilation or addition; as of a message or story

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