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 There are some efforts among members of Congress to defang the power of the debt ceiling as a political cudgel. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 15 Dec. 2021 For one thing, the pretext for the Iraq invasion was the need to defang a monster who threatened regional peace with weapons of mass destruction. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2021 The only way an inquiry can defang disinformation and conspiracy theories, like the idea that the Capitol rioters were antifa agitators in disguise, is if the country thinks the effort is factual and fair. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 24 Feb. 2021 In the explosive essay that kicks off this anthology, the philosopher Agnes Callard writes that such caveats defang the very point of anger. The New Yorker, 1 Dec. 2020 The full weight of Congress’s oversight powers can be a formidable tool when wielded properly, even despite Trump’s best efforts to defang them since 2018. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 16 Sep. 2020 Some have also pitched ideas to potentially defang a conservative-leaning Supreme Court or to bypass Congress to pursue more of their agenda through executive action. NBC News, 2 Feb. 2020 By emphasising the overlapping dual allegiances—to tribe and to clan—Deganawida complicated the notions of us and them, defanging the intertribal warfare. The Economist, 4 Nov. 2019 Yet Nabt Fenjan was far from the only Saudi establishment to discreetly drop separate sections over the last few years, after the crown prince defanged the religious police, which once enforced conservative social norms. Vivian Yee, New York Times, 15 Jan. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of defang

1919, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About defang

Dictionary Entries Near defang




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for defang

Cite this Entry

“Defang.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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