Definition of detente in English:


(also détente)


  • The easing of hostility or strained relations, especially between countries.

    ‘a serious effort at detente with the eastern bloc’
    • ‘While he concludes with a proposal for detente, his own account shows that these disputes are likely to be as intractable as they are longstanding.’
    • ‘Throughout the Cold War, there were a mix of policies that liberals supported: containment, detente, non-proliferation, and arms control.’
    • ‘The only difference was that now, in line with the policy of detente, in place of one German nation there were two: one socialist and one capitalist.’
    • ‘Equally important, a peace settlement with Washington is needed to defuse the military standoff at the 38th parallel, where a conflict could explode at any time, bringing detente to a halt.’
    • ‘For the neo-conservatives, Henry Kissinger's policy of arms control and detente with the Soviet Union smacked of appeasement.’
    • ‘After that Ostpolitik became fully integrated into the general process of superpower détente and East-West disarmament negotiations which had slowly begun in the course of 1970.’
    • ‘They are nostalgic for the good old days of detente - superpower summits, arms control, and discussions about balancing American and Russian power in regional conflicts.’
    • ‘Cuba will make every effort to preserve the atmosphere of détente and mutual respect that has prevailed in that area in the past few years.’
    • ‘By the early 1970s detente had become the policy of the day.’
    • ‘During the Cold War there were periods of detente when arms control played a part in helping to enhance confidence between the adversaries.’
    • ‘The chief architects of the superpower detente were President Richard Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.’
    • ‘Despite the policy of détente, the antagonism with the Soviet Union was still the dominant factor in world politics.’
    • ‘It is certainly unlikely at the moment that geopolitical stability can be achieved by the formation of some new detente like the one that terrified us into peace during the Cold War.’
    • ‘The policy of détente was abandoned and, under the Reagan administration, an increasingly aggressive policy was pursued towards the Soviet Union.’
    • ‘The policy of detente was scrapped and the objective was increasingly to roll back the Soviet Union.’
    • ‘In 1972, detente allowed diplomatic relations and closer economic ties between East and West Germany.’
    • ‘So far Russia has been able to stymie further detente with Nato by delaying promised agreements on military co-operation and by threatening the arms control process.’
    • ‘The description aptly described the new diplomacy of detente emerging from the 1972 super-power summit.’
    restoration of friendly relations, restoration of harmony, agreement, compromise, understanding, peace, an end to hostilities, amity, concord
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Early 20th century: from French détente, literally loosening, relaxation.