dé·​tente | \ dā-ˈtänt How to pronounce détente (audio) \
variants: or detente

Definition of détente

1 : the relaxation of strained relations or tensions (as between nations) diplomats brokering a détente also : a policy promoting this
2 : a period of détente the beginning of a détente

Examples of détente in a Sentence

as the countries move toward détente the start of a détente

Recent Examples on the Web

On one shelf sits an issue of the Pyongyang Times from the days of detente between the late leader Kim Jong Il and President Bill Clinton. Eric Talmadge, The Seattle Times, "Swedes keep room ready for US diplomats in Pyongyang," 25 Mar. 2019 Troubled by the failure of the U.S. and North Korea to reach a deal on sanctions relief in exchange for Pyongyang’s disarmament, South Korea is pressing the two sides to return to negotiations to prevent the diplomatic detente from unraveling. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "U.S.-North Korea Nuclear Talks Must Resume Quickly, Says Worried South," 4 Mar. 2019 The North Korean activities suggest Mr. Museveni believes violations in smaller nations won’t halt the momentum toward a detente between Washington and Pyongyang, diplomats and defense analysts say. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Never Take Their Photos: Tracking the Commandos, North Korea’s Secret Export," 9 Dec. 2018 As her offer—and his acceptance—to teach at Harvard suggests, both have seen advantage in detente. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Kavanaugh’s Collegial Nature Could Change Supreme Court’s Tenor," 15 July 2018 The government’s move comes as the end of oil subsidies from Venezuela and President Trump’s freeze ofPresident Obama’s detente with Cuba squeezes its economy. Santiago Pérez, WSJ, "‘Absolute Control’: Cuba Steps Up Artistic Censorship," 25 Dec. 2018 Communist Party leader Raul Castro expanded the country’s private sector after assuming the presidency in 2008, and businesses serving tourists in particular boomed after the declaration of detente with the U.S. in 2014. Andrea Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "Cubans welcome softer laws on business and art," 12 Dec. 2018 How high will rates go and will the Fed go too far? How far will the trade fight go, or will the U.S. and China reach some sort of detente? Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Why the Election Shouldn’t Distract Investors," 5 Nov. 2018 With that in mind, The Verge staff has assembled a list of streaming films and TV shows that have created enthusiasm in our personal family viewing — or at least a tolerable detente. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The Verge’s guide to tolerable family streaming entertainment," 21 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'détente.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of détente

1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for détente


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Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for détente

The first known use of détente was in 1908

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English Language Learners Definition of détente

formal : an ending of unfriendly or hostile relations between countries

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