[ dee-breef ]
/ diˈbrif /

verb (used with object)

to interrogate (a soldier, astronaut, diplomat, etc.) on return from a mission in order to assess the conduct and results of the mission.
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.
to subject to prohibitions against revealing or discussing classified information, as upon separation from a position of military or political sensitivity.
Psychology. (after an experiment) to disclose to the subject the purpose of the experiment and any reasons for deception or manipulation.

Nearby words

  1. debranching enzyme,
  2. debrecen,
  3. debrett,
  4. debride,
  5. debridement,
  6. debriefing,
  7. debris,
  8. debris bug,
  9. debruise,
  10. debs

Origin of debrief

First recorded in 1940–45; de- + brief

Related formsde·brief·er, nounde·brief·ing, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for debrief

British Dictionary definitions for debrief


/ (diːˈbriːf) /


(of a soldier, astronaut, diplomat, etc) to make or (of his superiors) to elicit a report after a mission or eventCompare brief (def. 13)
Derived Formsdebriefing, noun

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 debrief



"obtain information (from someone) at the end of a mission," 1945, from de- + brief (v.). Related: Debriefed; debriefing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper