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

transitive verb

: to make harmless or less powerful

Examples of defang in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Netanyahu’s Israel is a country in the throes of unprecedented domestic upheaval due to the government’s attempt to defang the checks on majoritarian power. Natan Sachs, Foreign Affairs, 28 July 2023 Today, with mere hours remaining before Israel invades the Strip with the likely intention of defanging Hamas once and for all, Ocasio-Cortez demanded that Israel refrain from defending itself and its ... Noah Rothman, National Review, 13 Oct. 2023 So far removed from the reality of his crimes, Pinochet risks being defanged. The New Yorker, 8 Sep. 2023 The opinion notes that there’s no evidence of misleading statements by church leaders on how a $600,000 bailout of that company from church coffers would be paid for, defanging Huntsman’s fraud assertions on that point. Tony Semerad, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Aug. 2023 Years of corporate feminism, girl bosses and girl power had defanged the second-wave critique; now feminists could look like anything, and some chose to look like Barbie. Willa Paskin, New York Times, 11 July 2023 But this big, splashy show, which is quite entertaining at times, is hampered by a shambolic jumble of sisterhood 101 messaging and defanged fantasy revisionism. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, 23 June 2023 Many observers in the United States and Europe, for example, wonder how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have warned for years that Iran’s nuclear program posed an existential threat to Israel yet has balked at the international community’s attempts to defang it. Natan Sachs, Foreign Affairs, 20 Oct. 2015 The battle took place between August 23–August 30, 1914, shortly after the start of the war itself, and was an attempt by the German Army to defang Russian armies marching westward on Germany. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 15 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'defang.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1919, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of defang was in 1919

Dictionary Entries Near defang

Cite this Entry

“Defang.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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