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From Middle French désengager ; dis- +‎ engage.



disengage (plural disengages)

  1. (fencing) A circular movement of the blade that avoids the opponent's parry


disengage (third-person singular simple present disengages, present participle disengaging, simple past and past participle disengaged)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To release or loosen from something that binds, entangles, holds, or interlocks.
    Synonyms: detach, disentangle, free, unfasten
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “[Letter the First]”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], volume I, London: [] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], →OCLC, pages 213–214:
      Diſingaging myſelf then from his embrace, I made him ſenſible of the reaſons there were for his preſent leaving me; on which, tho' reluctantly, he put on his cloaths with as little expedition, however, as he could help, wantonly interrupting himſelf between whiles, with kiſſes, touches, and embraces, I could not refuſe myſelf to; [...]
    • 1894, George du Maurier, “Part Third”, in Trilby: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, →OCLC, page 165:
      With the help of a sleepy waiter, Little Billee got the bacchanalian into his room and lit his candle for him, and, disengaging himself from his maudlin embraces, left him to wallow in solitude.
    • 1959 December, “Diesel multiple-units on the St. Pancras-Bedford service”, in Trains Illustrated, page 588:
      The eight-cylinder Rolls-Royce diesel engines drive through "Twin Disc" torque converters up to a speed of some 46 m.p.h., when the drive automatically changes to direct coupling and the torque converter is disengaged.
    • 1982 August, Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; 3), London: Pan Books, →ISBN, page 15:
      Ford still had his hand stuck out. Arthur looked at it with incomprehension.¶ "Shake," prompted Ford.¶ Arthur did, nervously at first, as if it might turn out to be a fish. Then he grasped it vigorously with both hands in an overwhelming flood of relief. He shook it and shook it.¶ After a while Ford found it necessary to disengage.
    • 2005 January 10, David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt, “Hot Topic: How U.S. Might Disengage in Iraq”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      Three weeks before the election in Iraq, conversation has started bubbling up in Congress, in the Pentagon and some days even in the White House about when and how American forces might begin to disengage in Iraq.
    • 2015 February 14, Stephen Marche, “The Epidemic of Facelessness”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      The more established wisdom about trolls, at this point, is to disengage.

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