Definition of disarm in English:



  • 1Take a weapon or weapons away from (a person, force, or country)

    ‘guerrillas had completely disarmed their forces’
    • ‘More than 62,000 former combatants have been disarmed and demobilized through the CIDA-funded Afghan New Beginnings Program.’
    • ‘Though still no talk of disarming the militants under terms of the U.S.-backed roadmap for peace.’
    • ‘Nepal declared a state of emergency and deployed troops countrywide to disarm the rebels one month ago.’
    • ‘The enemy nation must be totally disarmed by force.’
    • ‘The mission monitored and advised efforts to disarm combatants and restructure the nation's security forces.’
    • ‘But the Israelis want him to disarm the militants, and that will be tough.’
    • ‘The U.S. stance that Iraq can be disarmed only by military force is not appropriate.’
    • ‘The Palestinians will pledge to prevent terror and incitement and disarm all militias.’
    • ‘Regime change as a ‘morally desirable side-effect’ of disarming an aggressor is consistent with the Just War ethic.’
    • ‘He also pleaded with the international community to intervene and help disarm the rebels threatening his capital.’
    • ‘The US marines are not actively attempting to disarm either the rebels or the armed pro-government groups.’
    • ‘Under pressure from the U.N. Security Council, the Indonesian government on Sept.22 began operations to disarm the militiamen.’
    • ‘The aim is to disarm 100,000 militiamen within a year.’
    • ‘He not only occupied central and southern Italy with exemplary speed, but ruthlessly disarmed the Italian forces and contained the Allied landing at Salerno.’
    • ‘And hopefully, also share the victory here, not just with Iraqis, but with the people of the world who all supported regime change and disarming this country.’
    • ‘The process will resume January 20, after the United Nations expands capacity at an already overcrowded camp for former fighters and sets up two other camps to disarm rebel forces.’
    • ‘At conflict termination, those forces would be disarmed, demobilized, and restructured as part of a broader transformation from war to peace.’
    deprive of arms, take weapons from, render defenceless, make powerless
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    1. 1.1[no object](of a country or force) give up or reduce its armed forces or weapons.
      ‘the other militias had disarmed by the agreed deadline’
      • ‘Multilateral negotiations to induce it to disarm have stalled.’
      • ‘Ulster Unionist MPs and the party's members at the Assembly who earlier met in Belfast said the IRA proposal to disarm did not go far enough.’
      • ‘It forced the German Reich to disarm, and to reduce its standing army down to the little Reichswehr.’
      • ‘In the United States, an unprecedented movement to disarm emerged.’
      • ‘The likelihood that the army will actually disarm seems to me low, though they may turn in some weapons.’
      • ‘Politically, Japan can also be effective by providing a peacekeeping force not only for monitoring purposes but to help the country disarm, she said.’
      • ‘‘If the United Nations won't act, if he doesn't disarm, the United States will lead a coalition to make sure he does,’ the president said here.’
      • ‘Doesn't the fact that the entire Security Council told Iraq that it has to disarm suggest that it, too, has pretentions of knowing what's best for the Iraqi people?’
      • ‘It claimed the reason it was withdrawing its offers to disarm was because the British and Irish Governments had withdrawn their commitments and obligations.’
      • ‘We have demanded that a country disarm - and even as it is doing so, we say it doesn't matter, it's too late, we're coming in.’
      • ‘Here one may ask: can India afford to disarm unilaterally?’
      • ‘His promise to disarm appears to have been an empty one with no signs that the rebels are preparing to give up their weapons.’
      • ‘Has the I.R.A. disarming become a fallout from September 11.’
      • ‘Second, all private militias were told to disarm and cede their urban responsibilities to the police and the ICDC.’
      • ‘The failure to disarm remains the overt reason why sanctions are still in place more than ten years after an internationally binding ceasefire.’
      • ‘And so far, most of the warlords who have offered to disarm have been the ones allied to the government.’
      • ‘‘I think it's an important lesson for this administration to learn, and the best way to convince him to disarm is to get others to weigh in as well,’ Bush said.’
      • ‘He could have chosen to comply with the UN and disarm peacefully.’
      lay down arms, lay down weapons, demilitarize, turn over weapons, decommission arms, decommission weapons, become unarmed
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    2. 1.2Remove the fuse from (a bomb), making it safe.
      ‘police yesterday disarmed a parcel bomb’
      • ‘Though he has a high school education, he has been trained to be a specialist here, and he considers his job as delicate as disarming a live bomb.’
      • ‘These people were trained to disarm explosives and capture the enemy alive.’
      • ‘She held up the metal box that she used to disarm the bomb.’
      • ‘An American soldier was killed when he tried to disarm a roadside bomb that had been attached to a telephone pole.’
      • ‘"Thanks, " They said and got in then started disarming the bombs.’
      • ‘In March 1999, police in Santa Fe, New Mexico, disarmed a ten-inch pipe bomb left in the Forest Guardians' mailbox.’
      • ‘Ian Black, a young man from up North, had single-handedly disarmed the bomb.’
      • ‘Devon was nowhere in sight, but Dori knew that he was somewhere around the truck that held Linden and Ryan, working on disarming the bomb.’
      • ‘He disarms bombs for a living, and at night goes home to his LP collection and his beautiful girlfriend.’
      • ‘When we were hijacked by five terrorists who were planning to destroy our airplane and killed our flight crew, he single-handly killed the hijackers, disarmed the bomb, and landed the plane.’
      • ‘The serpentine robots could also be used to disarm explosives while minimizing the danger to humans.’
      • ‘One false move would activate the bomb and Jason didn't like the idea of disarming a bomb that could easily eliminate life miles away.’
      • ‘As an article in the New York Times reports, the crucial point is that the Israelis are able to disarm their human bombs because they have prior intelligence.’
      • ‘Last October in Colorado, three Catholic nuns entered a missile site swinging hammers to disarm a nuclear warhead.’
      • ‘We do everything from respond to emergencies involving unsafe munitions on the flightline to disarming improvised explosive devices.’
      • ‘On the letter bomb front, army bomb disposal experts were called on to disarm a letter bomb sent to an unnamed agricultural business and a farm.’
      • ‘‘I'll try, but I'm not making any guarantees,’ Patrick said as he looked for some way to disarm the nuclear bomb.’
      • ‘Over the course of the next few minutes, people like your brother and me quickly made an anti-virus that disabled the virus and disarmed the warheads.’
      • ‘The rebels trained him for five years, and he learned not of History and Arithmetic, like normal children his age would be learning, but of different things, like how to fire a rifle, and how to disarm a bomb.’
      • ‘Bomb disposal experts from Collins Barracks, Cork disarmed the pipe bomb yesterday afternoon.’
      defuse, disable, deactivate, remove the fuse from, put out of action
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  • 2Allay the hostility or suspicions of.

    ‘his tact and political skills will disarm critics’
    • ‘He's bright, amusing and just vulnerable enough to disarm critics.’
    • ‘She looked at Amadeo suspiciously, but was disarmed by the apologetic shrug he gave her.’
    • ‘Did Catherine accept the role to pre-empt and disarm her critics?’
    • ‘Understanding scholarship in this way disarms critics who are caught in the debate over whether community college faculty should engage in research.’
    • ‘Many actually planned and encouraged terroristic crimes so as to disarm suspicion and, in some cases, help their careers.’
    • ‘Like tennis, it's an old sport and has likewise evolved its own distinctive language with charm aplenty to disarm this non-sporty, youngish curmudgeon.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the man is honest to a fault and disarms any critics by agreeing with them.’
    • ‘Her character's skill at disarming those around her is uncanny and belies her years.’
    • ‘Such an approach has undoubtedly helped Celtic Connections build a loyal following and disarm the critics.’
    • ‘Mr Abbott said the package would disarm the critics; the surprise is in the amount the Government is spending - $2.4 billion over four years.’
    • ‘Characteristically, Roosevelt sought to charm and disarm his guest, while committing himself to nothing.’
    • ‘Trimble's internal critics have now been disarmed, allowing him to survive at least until the autumn - and probably beyond.’
    • ‘He unsuccessfully pressed Churchill to promise post-war independence to India to stiffen Indian resolve to fight and to disarm American suspicions of a war to save the British Empire.’
    • ‘Your own obliging manner will disarm hostile types.’
    • ‘Sergio replied to my friend with such extraordinary receptivity and honesty that the critic (an Iranian) was instantly disarmed.’
    • ‘At the same time successful attempts to entice a younger audience and elect younger RAs have disarmed many critics whilst alienating some of its traditional audience.’
    • ‘These machines can create conditions where people communicate; they can disarm people with skills and charm.’
    • ‘Apparently, it's a risk he's willing to take to solidify his front-runner status and disarm his critics in the Democratic Party establishment.’
    • ‘To disarm his EU critics, Administration sources say Bush may concede global warming is a problem and offer general ideas for new ways to address it.’
    • ‘Koku had turned on the charm, disarming them with the thoroughness of a mono-molecular knife.’
    win over, charm, undermine someone's resistance, sweeten
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    1. 2.1Deprive of the power to hurt.
      ‘camp humour acts to provoke rather than disarm moral indignation’
      • ‘And that would hopefully disarm an awful lot of the criticism which is at this is a bit of American imperialism aimed against the Muslims of the world.’
      • ‘Countervailing these reactions there is one other, and I think it is an emotion, a sensation rather, that entirely disarms these impurer thoughts and provides the surest signal one has encountered authentic art.’
      • ‘It disarms criticism, obscures realities, and prejudges results.’
      • ‘I think Mr Gageler rather disarms your argument on that because he accepted that you could not by contrived insertions lift the matter up into the constitutional protection if it was not otherwise there.’
      • ‘Before the flooding of New Orleans drastically escalated on Tuesday, the White House tried to disarm questions that could be politically explosive.’


  • [in singular] An act of taking a weapon away from someone.

    ‘a well-executed disarm’
    • ‘Allen went for a disarm, tapping the back of Jacob's hand before leading the blade in a sharp angle.’
    • ‘There was time for him at the moment to realize he was about a foot too far away to attempt a disarm.’
    • ‘The rules are as follows: We play until the disarm and trap of an opponent.’


Late Middle English: from Old French desarmer.