verb (used with object), dis·en·gaged, dis·en·gag·ing.

to release from attachment or connection; loosen; unfasten: to disengage a clutch.
to free (oneself) from an engagement, pledge, obligation, etc.: He accepted the invitation, but was later forced to disengage himself.
Military. to break off action with (an enemy).

verb (used without object), dis·en·gaged, dis·en·gag·ing.

to become disengaged; free oneself.

Origin of disengage

1605–15; < Middle French desengager, equivalent to des- dis-1 + engager to engage
Related formsdis·en·gag·ed·ness [dis-en-gey-jid-nis, -geyjd-] /ˌdɪs ɛnˈgeɪ dʒɪd nɪs, -ˈgeɪdʒd-/, nounself-dis·en·gag·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for disengaged

separated, free, unattached, unengaged

Examples from the Web for disengaged

Contemporary Examples of disengaged

Historical Examples of disengaged

  • In a moment he forgot all about himself and snatched up her disengaged hand.

  • She disengaged herself from his embrace with a sudden start.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • He disengaged himself, and cried in an angry voice: 'What, again!

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • Daniel waved his disengaged hand to the conductor of the nearest.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • These hands were quite competent, had they been disengaged, but just now they were full.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for disengaged



to release or become released from a connection, obligation, etcpress the clutch to disengage the gears
military to withdraw (forces) from close action
fencing to move (one's blade) from one side of an opponent's blade to another in a circular motion to bring the blade into an open line of attack
Derived Formsdisengaged, adjective
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 disengaged



c.1600 in figurative sense; 1660s in literal sense of "detach," from dis- "do the opposite of" + engage (q.v.). Related: Disengaged; disengaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper