- a relaxing of tension, especially between nations, as by negotiations or agreements.
Origin of détente
Examples from the Web for detente
Contemporary Examples of detente
If Obama's strategy is to dial back the blue/red civil war to a detente, Franken's is to escalate it to World War III.Al Franken is the Right's New Punching Bag
January 5, 2009
Historical Examples of detente
The Ambassador quite appreciated that the purpose of the mission was to create a detente, as distinguished from an entente.
- the relaxing or easing of tension, esp between nations
Word Origin for détente
1908 as a political term, a borrowing of French détente "loosening, slackening" (used in the Middle Ages for the catch of a crossbow), from Vulgar Latin detendita, fem. past participle of Latin detendere "loosen, release," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + tendere "stretch" (see tenet). The reference is to a "relaxing" in a political situation. The French word was earlier borrowed as detent (1680s) "catch which regulates the strike in a clock."
A period of lessening tension between two major national powers, or a policy designed to lessen that tension. Détente presupposes that the two powers will continue to disagree but seeks to reduce the occasions of conflict.