[ dee-kuhn-flikt ]
/ ˌdi kənˈflɪkt /
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verb (used with object)
  1. to avoid a potential clash or accident involving (nonenemy military operations, weaponry, etc.) in a particular combat area:to deconflict coalition forces from three nations.
  2. to avoid such conflict in (a combat area): to deconflict airspace.
to adjust or coordinate so as to prevent or resolve conflict: The witness never explained or deconflicted his earlier statements.
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Origin of deconflict

First recorded in 1970–75; de- + conflict


de·con·flic·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does deconflict mean?

Deconflict means to do something to avoid or remove the potential for conflict.

Deconflict is especially used in a military context to refer to an action intended to avoid conflict between nonenemy forces in an area or to remove elements (such as weapons) that could lead to dangerous situations. It can also be used in everyday situations when there is disagreement or things are in opposition to each other.

Example: We are in the process of deconflicting this zone by clearing it of all military personnel and equipment.

Where does deconflict come from?

The first records of deconflict in English come from the 1970s. It uses the prefix de- to indicate reversal or removal (as seen in words like destabilize, de-escalate, and dehumidify).

In military-speak, deconflict has two different meanings. The first is to make sure that there are no contradictory orders or other conditions that could lead to accidents or other dangerous situations in a combat area. For example, different units might need to be deconflicted before they join forces in a location, or flying missions may need to be deconflicted so they don’t use the same airspace. Such actions could also involve the relocating of supplies or weapons. The second, more general military meaning of deconflict is to free an area from all fighting or military operations.

In terms of nonmilitary use, deconflict is used in situations when there is disagreement, contradiction, or opposition. Things that could be deconflicted include contradictory statements, overlapping meetings, clashing software programs, or a situation in which people are arguing.

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What are some other forms of deconflict?

  • deconfliction (noun)

What are some words that share a root or word element with deconflict?

What are some words that often get used in discussing deconflict?

How is deconflict used in real life?

Deconflict is commonly used in a military context. Less commonly, it is used in situations involving scheduling conflicts or things that aren’t working together as they should.


Try using deconflict!

Which of the following choices describes a situation that could be deconflicted?

A. an argument between two people
B. two meetings that have been scheduled for the same time and place
C. coalition forces on their way to the same battle zone
D. all of the above