Definition of defuse
- defuse a crisis
Skilled negotiators helped defuse the crisis.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Many people find it difficult to remember the difference between defuse and diffuse, and when faced with the need for one of these words simply grab whichever one first comes to mind. But it needn’t be this way: the meanings of these two are quite a bit different, and there is a simple way to differentiate between them. Defuse is formed by adding the prefix de- to the word fuse; you are removing the fuse (either literally or figuratively) when you defuse a situation, much as defanging something entails removing the fangs. Diffuse, when used as a verb, tends to carry meanings such as “spread” or “scatter.” Additionally, diffuse is the only one which may be found used as an adjective.
: to make (something) less serious, difficult, or tense
: to remove the part of (an explosive) that makes it explode : to remove the fuse from (an explosive)
What made you want to look up defuse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Confusing Words—A Quiz