dis·​arm·​ing dis-ˈär-miŋ How to pronounce disarming (audio)
: allaying criticism or hostility : ingratiating
a disarming smile
dis-ˈär-miŋ-lē How to pronounce disarming (audio)

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When Should You Use disarming?

A defeated country is sometimes forced to disarm (give up its weapons), and research may be aimed at disarming a deadly virus (making it incapable of doing damage). But the meaning of the adjective disarming isn't quite so physical. If you say your nephew has a disarming smile, you mean that his smile's warmth and genuineness disarm the people he meets of any possible suspicion or criticism and of any verbal weapons they might have used against him.

Examples of disarming in a Sentence

We were all charmed by his disarming openness and modesty. a thoroughly disarming little rascal who can talk his way out of any trouble
Recent Examples on the Web Downstate comes to New York after acclaimed runs in Chicago at Steppenwolf and at the National Theatre, and the experience shows in its disarming, talky smoothness. Vulture, 15 Nov. 2022 But my style is the most disarming trash talk is no trash talk. Dallas News, 3 Aug. 2022 This will be both disarming and believable, allowing your daughter to propose times that are both far off and inconvenient. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2022 Clumsy, swaggering, disarming, stupid, cowardly or naive; ill-intentioned, unaware, incapable or uncaring. Anna Zanardi Cappon, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 What follows instead is a pivotal listen that conveys trauma in an assured yet disarming way. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 8 Dec. 2021 Then check out the work of Danielle Perez, who delivers jokes about the heaviest of subjects with a breezy openness that’s totally disarming. Jesse David Fox, Vulture, 1 Nov. 2021 Sara a rare mix of timidity and courage that’s unwaveringly disarming. Manuel Betancourt, Variety, 22 Nov. 2021 Garments can be gorgeous, disarming, and take your breath away. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Oct. 2021 See More

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

Word History


from present participle of disarm

First Known Use

1839, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disarming was in 1839

Dictionary Entries Near disarming

Cite this Entry

“Disarming.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disarming. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

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