Definition of defuse in English:



  • 1 Remove the fuse from (an explosive device) in order to prevent it from exploding.

    ‘explosives specialists tried to defuse the grenade’
    • ‘Some competitors had already passed the part of the route where army explosives experts were brought in to defuse a live device.’
    • ‘At around 9.30 pm, the explosive disposal squad was in place to defuse the bomb.’
    • ‘Grimly, he picked up a manual on defusing explosive devices and began to skim through it, just in case.’
    • ‘Many of the policemen injured had gathered to see the device being defused.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, bomb experts were defusing a hand grenade found near a Buddhist temple when a second grenade exploded about 50 metres away, wounding three people.’
    • ‘He summoned the police, the van turned out to be packed full of a terrorist's explosives, and the bombs were defused.’
    • ‘Police don't know whether he was trying to defuse the bomb, or whether he deliberately detonated it, killing himself.’
    • ‘Detectives defused the bomb, which was found under a pot plant outside the pub.’
    • ‘Earlier Tuesday, rebels manning the blockade ambushed an army truck, killing at least four soldiers and wounding two others shortly after troops defused a roadside bomb, officials said.’
    • ‘How on earth do you defuse these tricky devices?’
    • ‘Security guards patrolling the area informed police, who in turn notified the Bomb Disposal Unit, who defused the explosive device.’
    • ‘The demolitions expert defused the bomb about 10 minutes later.’
    • ‘A bomb squad arrived, along with officers from the police's Mobile Brigade, and defused the bombs that were equipped with timers.’
    • ‘The device was defused by police bomb disposal experts.’
    • ‘Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry about which wire to cut.’
    • ‘For months even men defusing bombs had no protection against blast because they worked without bullet-proof vests.’
    • ‘After the first three blasts, disposal experts tried to defuse a fourth bomb but failed, and it exploded, injuring one officer.’
    • ‘One died this morning, trying to defuse an improvised explosive device.’
    • ‘The army began searching the area on Friday and is defusing explosive devices strewn around the area by the blasts.’
    • ‘A tourist attraction to open in France will invite visitors to race a motorised gondola, crack a safe and save the world from destruction by defusing a nuclear bomb.’
    deactivate, disarm, disable, make safe
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    1. 1.1Reduce the danger or tension in (a difficult situation)
      ‘he had the ability to defuse tense moments with humor’
      • ‘To some, it seemed like both men's actions were crucial in defusing a potentially explosive situation.’
      • ‘But he was trotted out for the media and expertly defused what was an overblown tiff.’
      • ‘I can't help thinking that if Chuck were alive, he would have handled this unsavory, unneighborly encounter much better than I, for he was an expert at defusing tense situations.’
      • ‘The alternate is that the nuclear crisis should be defused peacefully through dialogue.’
      • ‘With a joke and a smile he was able to defuse many a tense situation and his presence in any room was unmistakable.’
      • ‘Disraeli saw its dangers and wished to take steps to quickly defuse the gathering tensions.’
      • ‘The ploy was intended to defuse tensions and pre-empt a possible rebellion in the Campo.’
      • ‘The situation was defused by quick-thinking American officers who had their men take a knee, visibly disarm, and then back off slowly.’
      • ‘Acknowledge their behaviour to defuse confrontation and to help prevent a recurrence.’
      • ‘Now he is trying to defuse the crisis that the warmongers have created.’
      • ‘It is learnt that more changes in the civil administration are also in the offing as part of the ongoing efforts to defuse the tense situation.’
      • ‘Can they defuse the crisis in time to avert a potential nuclear war?’
      • ‘King Frederick William IV, who was crowned in 1840, defused the situation.’
      • ‘What means have our rulers employed to defuse anger over fiscal privileges?’
      • ‘Honest and timely disclosure may defuse anger when people feel that information is not being withheld.’
      • ‘With their friendly but firm goodwill and common sense they were able to defuse many potentially dangerous situations and undoubtedly saved many lives.’
      • ‘Back then it was Deacon's intervention which helped defuse the row.’
      • ‘If we don't defuse these time bombs quickly, they will quite literally explode in our faces one morning as we open the newspapers.’
      reduce, lessen, diminish, lighten, relieve, ease, alleviate, allay, moderate, mitigate, take the edge off
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On the difference between defuse and diffuse, see diffuse