dis·​arm | \ dis-ˈärm How to pronounce disarm (audio) , diz-, ˈdis-ˌärm\
disarmed; disarming; disarms

Definition of disarm

transitive verb

1a : to deprive of means, reason, or disposition to be hostile disarmed criticism by admitting her errors
b : to win over
2a : to divest of arms disarm captured troops
b : to deprive of a means of attack or defense disarm a ship
c : to make harmless disarm a bomb

intransitive verb

1 : to lay aside arms
2 : to give up or reduce armed forces

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Other Words from disarm

disarmament \ ˌdis-​ˈär-​mə-​mənt How to pronounce disarmament (audio) \ noun
disarmer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for disarm




arm, militarize

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Adam Skaggs, chief counsel to the gun control advocacy group Giffords, said that an individual making credible terrorist threats could be disarmed under statutes in existing red flag laws on the books in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "White nationalists could have firearms taken under red flag law proposed by Kamala Harris," 14 Aug. 2019 After the war ended, the minesweeper units trolled the waters off Kuwait to find and disarm the more than 1,000 mines Iraq had dropped in concentric arcs for miles. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "Iran Has Hundreds of Naval Mines. U.S. Navy Minesweepers Find Old Dishwashers and Car Parts.," 9 Aug. 2019 Inside the 7-Eleven, police said the suspect stabbed and disarmed the security guard. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "4 Dead, 2 Injured in So. Cal After Man Goes on Stabbing and Robbery Rampage," 8 Aug. 2019 North and South Korea agreed last year to try to ease tensions along their border by reducing the number of landmines and guard posts, disarming their guards at a truce village and imposing a no-fly zone. NBC News, "North Korean soldier defects across the DMZ, South Korea says," 1 Aug. 2019 The characters speak with plain and disarming honesty, spouting the kind of whole, robotic sentences favored by surreal directors like Yorgos Lanthimos. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Art of Self-Defense," 19 July 2019 In this production the fire monster is a huge, menacing mechanical creature, easily disarmed by the sounds of the magic flute and the power of young love. New York Times, "Review: In ‘The Magic Flute,’ Mozart Meets Nosferatu," 18 July 2019 Bundy resembles, of all people, empath Bill Clinton in his disarming emotional affect and ability to imbue otherwise-dry ideas with solemnity and gravitas, McCann notes. Stephen Phillips | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "‘Shadowlands’ takes a broad view of the Malheur wildlife refuge occupation as the first upheaval in a tumultuous year," 2 July 2019 Recent talks between Abbas and his rivals failed, mainly because Hamas refuses to disarm. Fox News, "Abbas says won't return to Gaza unless Hamas cedes control," 8 Apr. 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for disarm

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

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Statistics for disarm

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for disarm

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

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More Definitions for disarm



English Language Learners Definition of disarm

: to take weapons from (someone or something)
: to give up weapons
: to make (a bomb, mine, etc.) harmless


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

Kids Definition of disarm

1 : to take weapons from Disarm the prisoner.
2 : to reduce the size and strength of the armed forces of a country
3 : to make harmless He disarmed the bomb.
4 : to end dislike or mistrust : win over a disarming smile

Other Words from disarm

disarmament \ -​ˈär-​mə-​mənt \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on disarm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disarm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disarm

Spanish Central: Translation of disarm

Nglish: Translation of disarm for Spanish Speakers

Comments on disarm

What made you want to look up disarm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make or get by devious means

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