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[dee-breef] /diˈbrif/
verb (used with object)
to interrogate (a soldier, astronaut, diplomat, etc.) on return from a mission in order to assess the conduct and results of the mission.
to question formally and systematically in order to obtain useful intelligence or information:
Political and economic experts routinely debrief important defectors about conditions in their home country.
to subject to prohibitions against revealing or discussing classified information, as upon separation from a position of military or political sensitivity.
Psychology. (after an experiment) to disclose to the subject the purpose of the experiment and any reasons for deception or manipulation.
1940-45; de- + brief
Related forms
debriefer, noun
debriefing, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for debrief
  • Agents gather intelligence, evidence and information to interrogate and debrief.
  • Afterwards, have students share their findings and debrief.
  • Walking gives me a half-hour to prepare for work in the morning, and the same to debrief in the evening.
  • After each session, the crew debrief with the trainers who are monitoring the training in a room nearby.
  • Afterwards, debrief the process, starting with feedback from the judge.
  • The house was normally used to debrief or entertain defectors.
  • They would debrief the prisoner on his interrogation sessions.
  • They allowed two hours for the lunch, after which they'd reconvene and debrief.
British Dictionary definitions for debrief


(of a soldier, astronaut, diplomat, etc) to make or (of his superiors) to elicit a report after a mission or event Compare brief (sense 13)
Derived Forms
debriefing, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debrief

"obtain information (from someone) at the end of a mission," 1945, from de- + brief (v.). Related: Debriefed; debriefing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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