Definition of detach in English:



  • 1Disengage (something or part of something) and remove it.

    ‘he detached the front lamp from its bracket’
    figurative ‘federal strings need to be detached to restore parental authority’
    • ‘But on his way back to the tender he unfortunately uncouples the mortar truck, detaching it from the rest of the train.’
    • ‘All of the material of this species comprises colonies detached from their substrata and mostly in a poor condition.’
    • ‘After her brief romance with Dudley, Elizabeth sought to detach her emotions from political considerations.’
    • ‘China sought to neutralise Australia, he said, by detaching it from the American alliance.’
    • ‘Phaethon willingly agreed, detaching his horses from the wagons.’
    • ‘It would set the strategic direction of the NHS and is designed to detach the service from political interference.’
    • ‘Three leaves were detached from the plant and cut along the mid vein into two halves.’
    • ‘After detaching the signed portion, it was to be posted in the same envelope as the voting form.’
    • ‘They were unable to pull the 3,000-pound anchor to get separation between the two vessels and thus needed to detach the anchor.’
    • ‘Do not detach them from the parent plant at this stage.’
    • ‘Hall, who last featured for City on February 5, has now had the pot removed and stitches taken out after surgery detached a troublesome tendon in his heel.’
    • ‘That will detach the front panel - but be careful not to pull too far, or you'll yank out the front panel cables.’
    • ‘Five mature leaves were detached from each one of ten A1 shoots belonging to five different individuals of each species.’
    • ‘The offending fire alarm was now completely detached from the wall.’
    • ‘If the units are attached to each other, you can either detach them and lower them separately or lower them as one.’
    • ‘If an early frost or a gale has deposited a carpet of leaves into the river, a single iron is often the only way of not spending the day detaching them after every cast.’
    • ‘Waging war at long distance, it is argued, using computers and remotely guided missiles, detaches policy-makers from the death and the suffering for which they are responsible.’
    • ‘In order to mobilise people in support of what they perceive to be the needs of the Australian ruling class, the Greens detach politics from their economic foundations.’
    • ‘It has a suitably macabre way of disposing of its victims, by detaching the head and ripping out the hypothalamus (a fairly important part of the brain).’
    • ‘This, Stuart was told, would give enough time to detach the hooks from their mouths and let them free, with relatively little danger to the catcher.’
    unfasten, disconnect, disengage, part, separate, uncouple, remove, loose, loosen, untie, unhitch, undo, unhook, unbutton, unzip, free, sever, pull off, cut off, clip off, hack off, chop off, prune off, nip off, tear off, break off, strip off, disunite
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object] Be easily removable.
      ‘the screen detaches from the keyboard’
      • ‘Removable pellicles detach during each exposure, which increases the risk of generating particles.’
      • ‘Look for the white cap, stout white stem which detaches easily from the cap, and the pink gills, which turn brown as the mushroom matures.’
      • ‘The Snow Factor is big enough for a down coat and a bivy sack, and the closed-cell foam framesheet detaches and unfolds to form an emergency sleeping pad.’
      • ‘Glochids detach very easily on contact and cause intense skin irritation.’
      • ‘The steel bipod attaches / detaches easily and simply slides into a rectangular slot in the front of the forend where it locks in place.’
      • ‘The gingiva detaches from the tooth, the periodontal membrane and alveolar bone are damaged, and an abnormal gap develops between the tooth and gum.’
      • ‘Infected green fruit turn light brown to purple, shrivel, and detach easily.’
      • ‘But in the course of playing out his spoof, Cervantes replaces the omniscience of the typical chivalric narrator with a pervasive uncertainty that detaches from the parody and becomes, in its own right, an aspect of the book.’
      • ‘Dr. Hecky said, ‘During these months the algae detaches from the bottom of the lakes, floats to the surface and is washed up onto beaches where it decomposes.’’
      • ‘It was a busy night, our phone was one of those where the base has the ringer but the handset detaches, so you can wander around and forget where you left it.’
      • ‘Once the DNA has been transcribed, the mRNA (messenger RNA) detaches from the DNA.’
      • ‘It is Velcroed to the spreader bar and easily detaches and reattaches.’
      • ‘The nonequilibrium S motor process takes a motor through a pathway in which the motor detaches from the track and then undergoes an unbending motion.’
      • ‘This particular model has RST technology that support multiple size monitors that allows for detaching.’
      • ‘The customizable ballmark detaches from the hat to mark your golf ball's place on the green.’
      • ‘A part of the blood clot detaches from the lining of the veins and travels up the bloodstream to the pulmonary artery, leading to a block.’
      • ‘If you're in any way a regular consumer of news media, you've probably got that condition where, when a word is repeated enough times, it sort of detaches from its meaning and just becomes a sound with no connotation.’
      • ‘The front bezel detaches pretty easily, no tools needed, and reveals some other features worth mentioning. the first thing you'll notice is the air filter for the front intake fans.’
      • ‘The loosely articulated head detaches upon removal of the carcass from the vessel.’
      • ‘The front of the faceplate easily detaches by depressing a small button on either side and pulling it forwards.’
    2. 1.2detach oneself from Leave or separate oneself from (a group or place)
      ‘a figure in brown detached itself from the shadows’
      • ‘By the time the full disc of the sun detaches itself from the eastern horizon, I can see land, a bumpy darker line above the dark water.’
      • ‘Duvessa turned and saw a shadow detach itself from the garden hedge and sprint in her direction.’
      • ‘A shadow detached itself from the tree line, and headed in her direction.’
      • ‘And at the very end of the engine's usefulness as a propulsive force, we see a further black shape detach itself from the plane.’
      • ‘After his sudden death, it was found that a blood clot had detached itself from inside his knee and found its way into his lungs.’
      • ‘In the second lap, 17 cyclists detached themselves from the main field of 110 starters.’
      • ‘I tried to pull the bacon out, but I could only grab a slick rind, which detached itself from the main body of the blockage and left me choking.’
      • ‘Later Lynda, Tricia, Angela, Beryl, Ros and Christine were to detach themselves from the original group after disagreeing over the forthcoming film.’
      • ‘And later, when it detached itself from the concrete altogether, the council blamed this on vandals.’
      • ‘I detached myself from my own city, Leicester, and went to Leeds.’
      • ‘The woman, in a wistful reverie, holds her hand round the cup while she waits for the tea to cool, relishing the warm china and the aromatic steam, which she watches as it detaches itself from the brim of the cup.’
      • ‘You mean you're actually detaching yourself from him for a week?’
      • ‘One detaches himself from the herd, I note with mild surprise, and heads outside with me.’
      • ‘Five days before arriving, Beagle 2 will detach itself from Mars Express.’
      • ‘We wondered had Sligo detached itself from the rest of Ireland and become an island or had the sea managed to force a new inlet in between Sligo and Mayo?’
      • ‘We stood to one side and let the march go by - partly from fascination and partly because groups of individuals were detaching themselves from the main body and harangued anyone who appeared fair game for their attention.’
      • ‘In Tibet, there is a separate designation for those who can detach themselves from their physical bodies.’
      • ‘The postmaster pursued the car but the trailer detached itself from the car in the chase.’
      • ‘One shadow detached itself from the floor and seemed to become solid.’
      • ‘There is something rather magical in the way helicopters effortlessly detach themselves from the ground and spiral up into the sky.’
      free, separate, segregate
      dissociate, divorce, alienate, separate, segregate, isolate, cut off, delink
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3detach oneself from Avoid or put an end to any connection or association with.
      ‘the newspaper detached itself from the political parties’
      • ‘Where U.S. national interests lie - and Europe's too, especially since after Madrid, it's increasingly hard to sustain the argument that Europeans can avoid terrorism simply by detaching themselves from the United States.’
      • ‘A victim of crime himself, Horatio Caine cannot detach himself from other victims' pain, but rather than let it consume him, he turns his anger into a righteous flame, which he uses to drive criminals and predators out into the light of day.’
      • ‘When he is talking about himself in the third person he is detaching himself from the actual situation you're discussing.’
      • ‘This is to detach himself from this world and establish a direct link with God.’
      • ‘He showed that the former was systematically open to doubt while the latter was free of uncertainty, and he proposed a method for detaching oneself from the sense-based conception and adopting the more objective one.’
      • ‘Usually as part of a policy of finding and exploiting new markets, firms are progressively detaching themselves from their traditional involvement in the UK economy.’
      • ‘The terrorist detaches himself from his close circle of friends and family and begins to live a fugitive's life.’
      • ‘It allows people to detach themselves from the problems that afflict society and to separate themselves from any responsibility.’
      • ‘It's tempting to not let a good hand go because you feel it should be a winner, but to be a good poker player you have to detach yourself from these feelings and be prepared to let go.’
      • ‘So detachment does not mean detaching yourself from the results of your efforts but detaching yourself from the rewards of your efforts.’
      • ‘In Capturing the Friedmans, we had a dysfunctional family whose members seemed to be completely unable to detach themselves from their emotions and their situation.’
      • ‘They experienced these states by empathy, yet detached themselves from the emotional predicament to reflect upon it.’
      • ‘Not only have some Muslims wilfully detached themselves from this great and ancient democracy, but they are actually opposed to it.’
      • ‘In the holy desert where the monk gives up everything, Merton detaches himself from all that is false, artificial and, in Capps's words, ‘contrary to reality's deepest and truest currents.’’
      • ‘Critical thought can oppose this development only by detaching itself from objective tendencies of social development and confronting them as an independent object.’
      • ‘However much I try to detach myself from the war, it keeps trying to drag me in.’
      • ‘Cricketers-turned-pundits are particularly adept at detaching themselves from the very industry in which they earn a living.’
      • ‘By detaching itself from practical actions and their consequences, it can lead to theory isolated from reality.’
      • ‘I'm better at detaching myself from [my work] as time goes on.’
      • ‘He could detach himself from what was happening on the court, he could play at a level we could not figure out and yet remain so cold on the exterior.’
  • 2Military
    usually be detachedSend (a group of soldiers or ships) on a separate mission.

    ‘our crew was detached to Puerto Rico for the exercise’
    • ‘The square was then modified so that an element could be detached, marched to be adjacent to the enemy, and the enemy flanked.’
    • ‘Rear Admiral Sakazawa detached Honor from the offensive in Sutran to scout the unknown wormhole in the system.’
    • ‘Yamamoto's Midway Force had also detached a powerful Aleutian Screening Force to act as distant cover for Kakuta but this was withdrawn when the battle off Midway failed to go Yamamoto's way.’
    • ‘While in France, the 442nd was detached from the 34th Division and attached to the 36th Division of the Seventh Army.’


Late 16th century (in the sense discharge a gun): from French détacher, earlier destacher, from des- (expressing reversal) + attacher attach.