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[dis-en-geyj] /ˌdɪs ɛnˈgeɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), disengaged, disengaging.
to release from attachment or connection; loosen; unfasten:
to disengage a clutch.
to free (oneself) from an engagement, pledge, obligation, etc.:
He accepted the invitation, but was later forced to disengage himself.
Military. to break off action with (an enemy).
verb (used without object), disengaged, disengaging.
to become disengaged; free oneself.
Origin of disengage
1605-15; < Middle French desengager, equivalent to des- dis-1 + engager to engage
Related forms
[dis-en-gey-jid-nis, -geyjd-] /ˌdɪs ɛnˈgeɪ dʒɪd nɪs, -ˈgeɪdʒd-/ (Show IPA),
self-disengaging, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for disengage
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When you make a pass, Sir, you must first disengage, and your body must be well turned.

  • As he said this he gently strove to disengage himself from her hold.

    Gomez Arias Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso
  • We must disengage ourselves from the ideas which the customary use of words has implanted in us.

    Theaetetus Plato
  • Gently she sought to disengage her hand, the trouble in her face increasing.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • This time he resolved to go in on the fifth disengage, and in on that he went with the same ease.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • He tried to disengage her hands that were clasped behind his neck.

    The Great Hunger Johan Bojer
  • She tried to disengage her wrist, but he was holding her with a tight, nervous grip.

    A Bride of the Plains

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • He returned her embrace, trying at the same time to disengage himself from it.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for disengage


to release or become released from a connection, obligation, etc: press the clutch to disengage the gears
(military) to withdraw (forces) from close action
(fencing) to move (one's blade) from one side of an opponent's blade to another in a circular motion to bring the blade into an open line of attack
Derived Forms
disengaged, adjective
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 disengage

c.1600 in figurative sense; 1660s in literal sense of "detach," from dis- "do the opposite of" + engage (q.v.). Related: Disengaged; disengaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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