verb (used with object)

to deprive of a weapon or weapons.
to remove the fuze or other actuating device from: to disarm a bomb.
to deprive of the means of attack or defense: The lack of logic disarmed his argument.
to divest or relieve of hostility, suspicion, etc.; win the affection or approval of; charm: His smile disarmed us.

verb (used without object)

to lay down one's weapons.
(of a country) to reduce or limit the size, equipment, armament, etc., of the army, navy, or air force.

Origin of disarm

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English word from Old French word desarmer. See dis-1, arm2
Related formsdis·arm·er, nounun·dis·armed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disarm

Contemporary Examples of disarm

Historical Examples of disarm

  • But he was resolved to use his best skill to disarm her sophistication.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • She could disarm Gustavus of his sword, which was so terrible to the princes of Europe.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • There is not another instrument can be discovered, to disarm and vanquish the human mind.


    William Godwin

  • “To work, madame,” he replied, lifting his cap with a courtesy which seemed to disarm her.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Unconsciously, each had taken the best method to disarm the other.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

British Dictionary definitions for disarm



(tr) to remove defensive or offensive capability from (a country, army, etc)
(tr) to deprive of weapons
(tr) to remove the triggering device of (a bomb, shell, etc)
(tr) to win the confidence or affection of
(intr) (of a nation, etc) to decrease the size and capability of one's armed forces
(intr) to lay down weapons
Derived Formsdisarmer, 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 disarm

late 14c., from Old French desarmer (11c.), from des- (see dis-) + armer "to arm" (see arm (v.)). The figurative sense is slightly earlier in English than the literal. Related: Disarmed; disarming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper