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 When patients assaulted nurses, the hospital failed to provide first aid or trauma counseling and debrief the incident. Mallory Moench,, "SF General Hospital sends more psych patients to the ER, already deemed unsafe by state, for coronavirus tests," 8 May 2020 To address child abuse, advocacy programs need to be integrated under one roof, where a child need only tell her story once, be recorded and not debriefed again, Judd said. Elaine Ayala,, "Ayala: Ashley Judd speaks to UTSA class on child abuse and domestic violence," 30 Apr. 2020 As her 12-hour shift drew to a close, Rosenberg debriefed the nurse who would take over that night. USA Today, "Heartbreak, prayer and mourning: US leads world in coronavirus deaths after deadliest week," 15 Apr. 2020 In the second part of the tour, participants debrief and make connections between their own behavior and feelings and that of people with dementia. Abi Marmurowicz, ajc, "Roswell nonprofit uses virtual tours to understand memory challenges," 21 Mar. 2020 The new law also requires school officials to debrief on each incident that prompted students to be restrained or isolated. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin schools must tell parents, public when they restrain or isolate students under new law," 2 Mar. 2020 Hannah Ann appeared on a special episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast right after the show to debrief hosts Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin, clarifying the confusing timeline of her engagement. Ineye Komonibo,, "Hannah Ann Clears Up That Confusing Breakup Timeline & It Doesn’t Look Good For Peter," 11 Mar. 2020 During the training video shoot, school counselors talked with students ahead of filming and debriefed them afterward, Perez said. Ashley Mcbride,, "Teacher unions say active shooter drills can traumatize students," 11 Feb. 2020 The students sit down separately and debrief with an adult. Washington Post, "‘You’ve got to let them fight’: Why Trump’s advice doesn’t work for kids," 20 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of debrief

1944, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of debrief was in 1944

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Debrief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce debrief (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of debrief

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

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Nglish: Translation of debrief for Spanish Speakers

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