v. dis·solved, dis·solv·ing, dis·solves
a. To cause to pass into solution: dissolve salt in water.
b. To reduce (solid matter) to liquid form; melt.
c. To cause to lose definition; blend or blur: "Morality has finally been dissolved in pity" (Leslie Fiedler).
a. To cause to disappear or vanish; dispel: The sun dissolved the fog. That remark dissolved the tension in the room.
b. To break into component parts; disintegrate: The deal dissolved the company into three separate businesses.
c. To bring to an end, as by breaking up; terminate or annul: "General de Gaulle was returned to power ... with a mandate to dissolve an overseas empire that had turned into a nightmare" (Alison Jolly).
d. To dismiss (an assembly such as a legislative body).
3. To cause to be moved emotionally or upset.
a. To pass into solution: Salt dissolves easily in water.
b. To become liquid; melt: The clumps of snow dissolved into puddles.
c. To lose definition; become blurred or indistinguishable: "The last shadows have dissolved into darkness" (Daniel Blajan).
a. To become disintegrated; disappear: The mist dissolves as the sun rises.
b. To be broken up into separate parts: The empire dissolved into many separate countries.
c. To be brought to an end; be annulled or terminated: After a long separation, the marriage finally dissolved.
3. To be moved or overcome emotionally: I dissolved into helpless laughter.
4. To make a transition between shots in a cinematic work using a superimposition in which the first shot fades out while the second shot gradually appears.
A transition in a cinematic work consisting of a superimposition in which the first shot fades out while the second shot gradually appears. Also called lap dissolve.
[Middle English dissolven, from Latin dissolvere : dis-, dis- + solvere, to release; see leu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.