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Webster's gives "ca. 1874" as first occurrence of the word dissimilation, and 1841 for dissimilate (but I don't know if the latter was used in the linguistic sense). For French, the Petit Robert gives: end of XIXth century. Dissimilation in today's sense is linked to the notion of sound law (a given dissimilation is either a sound law or an exception to sound laws), and the notion of sound laws is born around 1875.