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or detente

[dey-tahnt; French dey-tahnt] /deɪˈtɑnt; French deɪˈtɑ̃t/
noun, plural détentes
[dey-tahnts; French dey-tahnt] /deɪˈtɑnts; French deɪˈtɑ̃t/ (Show IPA)
a relaxing of tension, especially between nations, as by negotiations or agreements.
Origin of détente
From French, dating back to 1905-10; See origin at detent Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for detente


/deɪˈtɑːnt; French detɑ̃t/
the relaxing or easing of tension, esp between nations
Word Origin
French, literally: a loosening, from Old French destendre to release, from tendre to stretch
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
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Word Origin and History for detente

1908 as a political term, a borrowing of French détente "loosening, slackening" (used in the Middle Ages for the catch of a crossbow), from Vulgar Latin detendita, fem. past participle of Latin detendere "loosen, release," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + tendere "stretch" (see tenet). The reference is to a "relaxing" in a political situation. The French word was earlier borrowed as detent (1680s) "catch which regulates the strike in a clock."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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detente in Culture
détente [(day-tahnt)]

A period of lessening tension between two major national powers, or a policy designed to lessen that tension. Détente presupposes that the two powers will continue to disagree but seeks to reduce the occasions of conflict.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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