dis·​arm dis-ˈärm How to pronounce disarm (audio)
disarmed; disarming; disarms

transitive verb

: to deprive of means, reason, or disposition to be hostile
disarmed criticism by admitting her errors
: to win over
: to divest of arms
disarm captured troops
: to deprive of a means of attack or defense
disarm a ship
: to make harmless
disarm a bomb

intransitive verb

: to lay aside arms
: to give up or reduce armed forces
disarmament noun
disarmer noun

Examples of disarm in a Sentence

The government has been unsuccessful at disarming the rebels. The terrorists have refused to disarm. It took more than an hour to disarm the bomb.
Recent Examples on the Web That physical comedy is a large part of how Cassandro defeats wrestlers who tower over him, disarming them just by being himself. Pat Padua, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 The exuberance and confidence informed her array of disarming moves — pop-and-lock combinations, aggressive shimmies, shoulder rolls, rump shakes, move-outta-the-way prances — usually executed in choreographed routines with her dance squad. Bob Gendron, Chicago Tribune, 23 July 2023 And on the other hand, the fact that our encounters with other people can completely disarm us. Hazlitt, 19 July 2023 But sometimes, the promise of movie magic is exquisitely fulfilled, and your reservations can be disarmed. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2023 Before the timer goes off, McCall has disarmed one man, shot several others, and stuck the gun barrel in another’s eye socket. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 30 Aug. 2023 The affection that the writer, director and cast have poured into the family unit — with one foot in their cultural traditions and another in American life, with all its challenges — gives Blue Beetle vital flesh-and-blood stakes, along with a steady stream of disarming comedy. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Aug. 2023 Police said another man at the scene got into a fight with the man who shot the girl, attempting to disarm him. Rebecca Johnson, Chicago Tribune, 6 Aug. 2023 The shooter was tackled and disarmed by patrons before being taken into custody by authorities. Deon J. Hampton, NBC News, 26 June 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English desarmen, literally, to divest of arms, from Anglo-French desarmer, from des- dis- + armer to arm

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of disarm was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near disarm

Cite this Entry

“Disarm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disarm. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​arm (ˈ)dis-ˈärm How to pronounce disarm (audio)
: to take weapons from
disarm a prisoner
: to reduce the size and strength of the armed forces of a country
: to make harmless, peaceable, or friendly : remove dislike or suspicion
a disarming smile
disarmament noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disarm

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