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[dee-kuhp-uh l]
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verb (used with object), de·cou·pled, de·cou·pling.
  1. to cause to become separated, disconnected, or divergent; uncouple.
  2. to absorb the shock of (a nuclear explosion): a surrounding mass of earth and rock can decouple a nuclear blast.
  3. Electronics. to loosen or eliminate the coupling of (a signal between two circuits).
verb (used without object), de·cou·pled, de·cou·pling.
  1. to separate or diverge from an existing connection; uncouple.

Origin of decouple

First recorded in 1595–1605; de- + couple
Related formsde·cou·pler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for decoupling


  1. the separation of previously linked systems so that they may operate independently
  2. electronics the reduction or avoidance of undesired distortion or oscillations in a circuit, caused by unwanted common coupling between two or more circuits


  1. (tr) to separate (joined or coupled subsystems) thereby enabling them to exist and operate separately
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for decoupling



c.1600, from French découpler "to uncouple," from de- (see de-) + coupler (Old French copler; see couple (v.)). Related: Decoupled; decoupling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper