Definition of uncouple in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Disconnect (something, especially a railroad vehicle that has been coupled to another).

    • ‘The train pulls into the station, the engine is uncoupled and changes ends, and then off it goes on its journey, after a procedure that normally takes approximately six minutes.’
    • ‘The academic community has also discussed uncoupling publication from academic credit and creating buying cooperatives but made little progress.’
    • ‘I know the importance of uncoupling the story from the reality.’
    • ‘Police particularly want to interview anyone who saw the trailer being uncoupled from the tractor unit or can identify the vehicle which towed it away.’
    • ‘The steam engine that had hauled the MISSIONARY RIDGE LOCAL from Grand Junction was quickly uncoupled from the train, and driven onto the turntable.’
    • ‘But on his way back to the tender he unfortunately uncouples the mortar truck, detaching it from the rest of the train.’
    • ‘By uncoupling our emotions from the film's many acts of violence, he frees us to draw parallels and make connections with painfully recent history.’
    • ‘Finally, for once the idea of the ‘cutting edge’ has uncoupled itself from the notion that it must be ‘challenging.’’
    • ‘A Carman would uncouple the road engine from the train and the cars would be inspected before the yard engine came to take them to the coach yard.’
    • ‘Secondly, notions of performance should be uncoupled from notions of productivity and coupled instead with notions of quality and development.’
    • ‘The carriage which included the two compartments in question was uncoupled and side-tracked.’
    • ‘She reached down and tried to pull the pin to uncouple the old cars, but it wouldn't budge.’
    • ‘For the media industry, it is about uncoupling the value of our content from the form in which it is delivered.’
    • ‘The train was pulled into the wye South of the station to uncouple the roadrailers (Amtrak express freight cars) added in Albany and then backed into the station.’
    • ‘Mr Marshall then went back into the tunnel with firemen to uncouple three of the tankers and drive them to safety.’
    • ‘Only later did we learn that the towns on the signs indicated where those cars would be uncoupled.’
    • ‘Watch the gang silently take over a train, methodically uncoupling the engine and making off with a shipment of weapons while their adversaries nap in the rear car.’
    • ‘I need you back over here pronto so we can uncouple the ships.’
    • ‘Two wagons had been uncoupled and set up at the far side as back to back dressing rooms.’
    disconnect, pull apart, break apart, detach, disengage, unyoke, disarticulate, disassemble, disunite, disjoin, disaffiliate
    become detached, become disconnected, come apart, come away, break off
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Become disconnected.
      figurative ‘I have seen marriages uncouple under the strain’
      ‘the groups of cells commonly uncouple from surrounding tissue’
      • ‘Our train uncoupled and went choo-chooing along to rescue the stranded passengers.’
      • ‘One ethical error can threaten the whole system, because if one is willing to overlook one small wrong, that can allow another, until the whole chain uncouples.’
      • ‘The barren desert all around them made the shock of the train uncoupling all the more difficult to accept.’
      • ‘Reading literature and having a damn good time had become quietly but decidedly uncoupled.’
      • ‘The reason we don't do it more is that coupling and uncoupling trains adds to the journey time.’
      • ‘There is an increasing uncoupling of marriage from the business of child-rearing.’
      • ‘If you begin to uncouple from the traditional thinking, and start to explore why we have failed to overcome the disease, you can open up a whole new range of therapeutic possibilities.’
    2. 1.2Hunting dated Release (hunting dogs) from being fastened together in couples.