- a relaxing of tension, especially between nations, as by negotiations or agreements.
Origin of détente
Examples from the Web for detente
If Obama's strategy is to dial back the blue/red civil war to a detente, Franken's is to escalate it to World War III.Al Franken is the Right's New Punching Bag
January 5, 2009
The Ambassador quite appreciated that the purpose of the mission was to create a detente, as distinguished from an entente.
- the relaxing or easing of tension, esp between nations
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."
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.