1530s, of things (writing or books) "disfigure, maim by depriving of a characteristic part;" 1560s, of persons, "cut off a limb or any important part of;" from Latin mutilatus, past participle of mutilare "to cut off, lop off, cut short; maim, mutilate," from mutilus "maimed," which is of uncertain etymology. Properly, to deprive of some principal part, especially by cutting off, and emphasizing the injury to completeness and beauty. Related: Mutilated; mutilating.
updated on April 14, 2019
Dictionary entries near mutilate