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defuse

or de·fuze

[dee-fyooz]
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verb (used with object), de·fused, de·fus·ing.
  1. to remove the fuze from (a bomb, mine, etc.).
  2. to make less dangerous, tense, or embarrassing: to defuse a potentially ugly situation.
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verb (used without object), de·fused, de·fus·ing.
  1. to grow less dangerous; weaken.
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Origin of defuse

First recorded in 1940–45; de- + fuse1
Related formsde·fus·er, noun
Can be confuseddefuse diffuse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for defuse

deactivate, soothe, lessen, alleviate, diminish, subdue, cripple, soften, disable, restrain, mollify, pacify, pad, moderate, weaken, demilitarize

Examples from the Web for defuse

Contemporary Examples of defuse

Historical Examples of defuse

  • So we had our people in Gdynia defuse the thing after it was put on board the ship, but otherwise leave it entirely alone.

    One-Shot

    James Benjamin Blish

  • At one base I was waiting when they wheeled in a stretcher with the remains of an Englishman who had been trying to defuse a bomb.

  • The stem of the black alder of this country before mentioned as arriving to great size, is simply branching and defuse.

    The Journals of Lewis and Clark

    Meriwether Lewis and William Clark


British Dictionary definitions for defuse

defuse

sometimes US defuze

verb (tr)
  1. to remove the triggering device of (a bomb, etc)
  2. to remove the cause of tension from (a crisis, etc)
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confusable

Avoid confusion with diffuse
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 defuse

v.

1943, from de- + fuse. Related: Defused; defusing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper