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 At another company, using Shamaym to debrief and learn from every sales discovery call, sales teams improved their discovery-to-demo conversion rate by 15%. Gil Press, Forbes, "This AI Is A Leading Indicator Of The Future Of Work," 15 Apr. 2021 Even more important is working with leaders to debrief on the results of these assessments to identify gaps and follow through by creating development. Jenn Lofgren, Forbes, "Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Don't Shut Off Their Emotions—They Manage Them," 17 Mar. 2021 Did you guys debrief after the lip sync at all, or talk since about the elimination? Justin Curto, Vulture, "How Drag Race’s Denali Gets in the Lip-Sync Zone," 15 Mar. 2021 The media mogul appeared on CBS This Morning to debrief the news anchors on the royal interview. Ineye Komonibo,, "Oprah Just Dropped Some Major New Bombshells From Last Night’s Interview," 8 Mar. 2021 Joining a community, or even a Facebook group, can offer a place to debrief and digest after a trying conversation. NBC News, "How to talk to parents about race if you're adopted or multiracial," 22 Dec. 2020 Von der Leyen is due to debrief the EU’s 27 leaders about the outcome of the dinner at a two-day summit that starts in Brussels on Thursday. Joe Mayes, Fortune, "Boris Johnson faces final Sunday deadline for Brexit deal with the EU," 10 Dec. 2020 Afterward, the group, which included two volunteer observers who had come to support Abbas, gathered in a small room to debrief. Gabriel Thompson, Longreads, "Inside the Chaos of Immigration Court," 23 Sep. 2020 Schindewolf said district leadership has met daily in the afternoon to debrief and to look at any issues. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Tomball ISD students experience first week of school, face-to-face and virtually, amid the pandemic," 12 Sep. 2020

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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Debrief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of debrief

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

More from Merriam-Webster on debrief

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Nglish: Translation of debrief for Spanish Speakers

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