“The two men mutually dissembled their desire to enter into an equitable business partnership; but, in reality, each intended to swindle the other.”

Based on the sentence above, which definition most accurately describes dissemble?

Check your answer!

Choice A - To scam people out of money or other possessions
Choice B - To conceal one’s true intentions behind a false guise
Choice C - To pretend to be enjoying oneself when miserable
Choice D - To consume excessive amounts of food or alcohol


Dissemble (verb) – to conceal one’s real intentions or beliefs behind a false appearance; to pretend

Dissembler (noun) – someone who dissembles; a pretender, or a counterfeit

Dissemblance (noun) – the act of creating a false appearance or hiding one’s real intentions

GRE pro tips:

Dissemble is a word that most students are unfamiliar with, but it makes sense when you relate it to other words. It is derived from the French word semblar (meaning “appearance”); other words sharing this common origin include semblance (meaning how something appears), resemble (meaning having a similar appearance), and assemble (meaning to put together or create a semblance). Because the Latin root dis means “away,” “apart,” or having a negative or reversing force, it makes sense that dissemblance is the act of creating a false semblance or of hiding one’s true motives. And, to dissemble is to conceal one’s true self, intentions, or character.

Example sentences:

“She was seemingly incapable of dissemblance, always wearing her heart on her sleeve.”

“The conman was able to steal millions from his unsuspecting investors, thus proving his extraordinary ability to dissemble.”