dis·​en·​gage | \ ˌdis-in-ˈgāj How to pronounce disengage (audio) \
disengaged; disengaging; disengages

Definition of disengage

transitive verb

: to release from something that engages or involves

intransitive verb

: to release or detach oneself : withdraw

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Other Words from disengage

disengagement \ ˌdis-​in-​ˈgāj-​mənt How to pronounce disengagement (audio) \ noun

Examples of disengage in a Sentence

The two dancers moved together in a series of quick movements before disengaging and leaping apart. Put the car in gear, and then slowly disengage the clutch while pressing on the gas pedal. If there is a malfunction, the gears will automatically disengage.
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Recent Examples on the Web With two branches of government thus disengaged from constructive oversight, only the federal judiciary is capable of reining in the department and stopping the systemic rot. Jonathan Stevenson, The New York Review of Books, "With Flynn, Barr Burns Justice to Feed Trump’s ‘Obamagate’ Fantasy," 15 May 2020 Besides this investigation, Wilkie was already facing criticism for appearing disengaged from the department’s many critical issues. Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica, "Did He Talk About Her? VA Secretary Changes His Story Amid Allegations He Sought Dirt on House Staffer.," 27 Apr. 2020 President Trump reportedly disengaged from his plan to re-open the United States economy by April 12 in part because he was shaken by a personal connection to the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, Vanity Fair reports. TheWeek, "Coronavirus threat reportedly 'hit home' for Trump after a close friend was hospitalized," 1 Apr. 2020 The Mexican military has recently disengaged to some degree, but fighting among the cartels is raging hotter than ever. Seth Harp, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 27 Apr. 2020 Still, these mutually resentful women can’t disengage: their womanhood, and an accompanying unease in the world, keep them yoked together, entangled in talk. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "Kathleen Collins’s Otherworldly Women," 20 Apr. 2020 Until then, disengage from her on social media and continue to work on your own recovery. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Survivor wants to confront bully," 11 Feb. 2020 Until then, disengage from her on social media and continue to work on your own recovery. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Trauma survivor wants to confront bully from the past," 11 Feb. 2020 Here are some of the most notable reactions, from the enraged to the consciously disengaged. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "Democrats Like Nancy Pelosi, AOC, and Ilhan Omar Protested Donald Trump's State of the Union in Their Own Ways," 5 Feb. 2020

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

1611, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for disengage

French désengager, from Middle French, from des- dis- + engager to engage

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Time Traveler for disengage

Time Traveler

The first known use of disengage was in 1611

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Statistics for disengage

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disengage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disengage. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for disengage


How to pronounce disengage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disengage

: to separate from someone or something
: to stop being involved with a person or group : to stop taking part in something
: to move (a mechanism or part of a machine) so that it no longer fits into another part

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