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[dey-tahnt; French dey-tahnt] /deɪˈtɑnt; French deɪˈtɑ̃t/
noun, plural détentes
[dey-tahnts; French dey-tahnt] /deɪˈtɑnts; French deɪˈtɑ̃t/ (Show IPA)
a relaxing of tension, especially between nations, as by negotiations or agreements.
Also, detente.
1905-10; < French; see detent Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for détente
  • Each time, there was an increased police presence and a flurry of arrests followed by a declared victory and then detente.
British Dictionary definitions for détente


/deɪˈtɑːnt; French detɑ̃t/
the relaxing or easing of tension, esp between nations
Word Origin
French, literally: a loosening, from Old French destendre to release, from tendre to stretch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for détente
political term is 1908 borrowing of Fr. détente "loosening, slackening," used in O.Fr. for the catch of a crossbow, from V.L. detendita, fem. pp. of detendere "loosen, release," from de- "from, away" + tendere "stretch" (see tenet).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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détente in Culture
détente [(day-tahnt)]

A period of lessening tension between two major national powers, or a policy designed to lessen that tension. Détente presupposes that the two powers will continue to disagree but seeks to reduce the occasions of conflict.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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