View synonyms for debrief


[ dee-breef ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to interrogate (a soldier, astronaut, diplomat, etc.) on return from a mission in order to assess the conduct and results of the mission.
  2. to question formally and systematically in order to obtain useful intelligence or information:

    Political and economic experts routinely debrief important defectors about conditions in their home country.

  3. to subject to prohibitions against revealing or discussing classified information, as upon separation from a position of military or political sensitivity.
  4. Psychology. (after an experiment) to disclose to the subject the purpose of the experiment and any reasons for deception or manipulation.


/ diːˈbriːf /


  1. See brief
    (of a soldier, astronaut, diplomat, etc) to make or (of his superiors) to elicit a report after a mission or event Compare brief

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Derived Forms

  • deˈbriefing, noun

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Other Words From

  • de·brief·er noun
  • de·brief·ing noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of debrief1

First recorded in 1940–45; de- + brief

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Example Sentences

“We debriefed in 2018 after the World Cup,” Nicolas Evans, head of football research and standards for FIFA Technology Innovation, said.

In the old days, tire makers would follow an iterative process of creating a tire, putting a set on a car, sending a driver out on track to try it, and then debriefing the driver on the tire’s performance.

He wrote sympathetic copy about his friend Kim Philby, who spied for Russia, then passed Philby’s correspondence to the SIS and debriefed the agency after visiting Philby in Moscow.

At the same time, the NYPD is continuing to field undercovers as well as debrief informants.

Wilkinson, an editor at DeBrief, was on a train, eating a rushed meal.

But quickly the debrief went sour, discussion turning to accusation.

Would it be possible for Carrie to just burst into that debrief and be like “Hey, you started without me!”

Finally, in March 2004 the Europeans relented and we sent one of our very best field officers to debrief Curveball.


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