de·​fang | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈfaŋ How to pronounce defang (audio) \
defanged; defanging; defangs

Definition of defang

transitive verb

: to make harmless or less powerful

Examples of defang in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But regulators managed to defang the wolves, never giving them a chance. The Economist, "Foreign financiers look past the trade war and ramp up in China," 4 July 2019 Kim wants relief from international sanctions; the White House wants to defang North Korea’s nuclear program. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump’s reality show takes over U.S. foreign policy," 1 July 2019 That kind of disregard for the law defangs it in a big way, Marsco said. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Analysis: What is the Hatch Act, and how did Kellyanne Conway violate it?," 13 June 2019 As with Alice, Mary Poppins was nabbed by Disney and defanged for its 1964 film starring Julie Andrews, which was — to quote Poppins herself — practically perfect in every way. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Mary Poppins Returns — with a sadder story and forgettable songs," 12 Dec. 2018 The allegations have battered the image of Prince Mohammed, who was once seen as a reformer who allowed women to drive, defanged the religious police and tried to open up his country to foreign investment. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "Photos Link Suspect in Alleged Killing of Journalist to Saudi Government," 21 Oct. 2018 One of the best strategies to defang the sting of criticism is to dissect it. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Handle Criticism," 9 Aug. 2018 When the black bear was a year old, he was defanged and declawed, his mouth altered into a gummy mash of pink gums and tongue. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award runner-up: "Am I Not Your Animal" by Matt Jones," 2 June 2018 Failing that, the NRA still managed to defang one of the law’s provisions. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "The NRA’s flip-flop on federal mandates for states in gun background checks," 27 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defang.' 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 defang

1919, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for defang

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for defang

The first known use of defang was in 1919

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