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[dis-en-geyj] /ˌdɪs ɛnˈgeɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), disengaged, disengaging.
to release from attachment or connection; loosen; unfasten:
to disengage a clutch.
to free (oneself) from an engagement, pledge, obligation, etc.:
He accepted the invitation, but was later forced to disengage himself.
Military. to break off action with (an enemy).
verb (used without object), disengaged, disengaging.
to become disengaged; free oneself.
1605-15; < Middle French desengager, equivalent to des- dis-1 + engager to engage
Related forms
[dis-en-gey-jid-nis, -geyjd-] /ˌdɪs ɛnˈgeɪ dʒɪd nɪs, -ˈgeɪdʒd-/ (Show IPA),
self-disengaging, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for disengage
  • Then pivot the hinge to disengage the roller from the track.
  • The hardest lesson for students to learn is to disengage themselves from the data and theories in social sciences.
  • After removing the nails from the siding, press downward to disengage its lower edge from the siding below.
  • The sudden imbalance of power, with only one engine operating, caused the autopilot to disengage and the plane to begin to fall.
  • But no grown-up thinks we're going to be able to disengage rapidly and abruptly.
  • Perpetuated by the media, they disengage our society's elite.
  • Once you engage, it will be harder to disengage if things do go awry.
  • He also fails to consistently disengage with good timing versus the run.
  • It is trying to disengage itself from its over-close relations with business.
  • Consequently, it is reasonably easy for me to disengage from any of them.
British Dictionary definitions for disengage


to release or become released from a connection, obligation, etc: press the clutch to disengage the gears
(military) to withdraw (forces) from close action
(fencing) to move (one's blade) from one side of an opponent's blade to another in a circular motion to bring the blade into an open line of attack
Derived Forms
disengaged, adjective
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 disengage

c.1600 in figurative sense; 1660s in literal sense of "detach," from dis- "do the opposite of" + engage (q.v.). Related: Disengaged; disengaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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