de·​brief | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈbrēf How to pronounce debrief (audio) \
debriefed; debriefing; debriefs

Definition of debrief

transitive verb

1 : to interrogate (someone, such as a pilot) usually upon return (as from a mission) in order to obtain useful information The hostages were later debriefed by police.
2 : to carefully review upon completion debrief the flight

intransitive verb

: to be interrogated for useful information following a mission, experience, etc. : to be debriefed After each mission, … the pilots land, disarm and roll into the fuel pit. They spend another hour debriefing with Intelligence …— Maria Wilhelm

Examples of debrief in a Sentence

Police debriefed the hostages upon their return. The pilot was debriefed after his flight.

Recent Examples on the Web

That pilot wasn’t among the crew killed in the Sunday crash of Lion Air 610, so investigators will no doubt be interested in debriefing him, as well as other crew members and passengers aboard the earlier flight. Barbara S. Peterson, Popular Mechanics, "Lion Air 610 Had the Same Problem Four Flights in a Row Before It Crashed," 5 Nov. 2018 No family members or friends of the three freed Americans were on hand for their arrival Thursday due to protocol reasons, an official told CNN, adding the men had to first debrief intelligence officials before heading to their homes. Allie Malloy, CNN, "President Trump welcomes 3 Americans freed by North Korea," 10 May 2018 And the fact that Pompeo has debriefed the president, and the president is going forward with this summit meeting, with all the political risks associated with it. Fox News, "Jonathan Turley: Comey is harming the FBI with tell-all," 19 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of debrief

1944, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about debrief

Statistics for debrief

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for debrief

The first known use of debrief was in 1944

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for debrief



English Language Learners Definition of debrief

formal : to officially question (someone) about a job that has been done or about an experience

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on debrief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with debrief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for debrief

Nglish: Translation of debrief for Spanish Speakers

Comments on debrief

What made you want to look up debrief? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!