Definition of detach in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /dəˈtaCH/


[with object]
1Disengage (something or part of something) and remove it: he detached the front lamp from its bracket figurative federal strings need to be detached to restore parental authority
More example sentences
  • After her brief romance with Dudley, Elizabeth sought to detach her emotions from political considerations.
  • It would set the strategic direction of the NHS and is designed to detach the service from political interference.
  • Hall, who last featured for City on February 5, has now had the pot removed and stitches taken out after surgery detached a troublesome tendon in his heel.
1.1 [no object] Be easily removable: the screen detaches from the keyboard
More example sentences
  • But in the course of playing out his spoof, Cervantes replaces the omniscience of the typical chivalric narrator with a pervasive uncertainty that detaches from the parody and becomes, in its own right, an aspect of the book.
  • Dr. Hecky said, ‘During these months the algae detaches from the bottom of the lakes, floats to the surface and is washed up onto beaches where it decomposes.’
  • If you're in any way a regular consumer of news media, you've probably got that condition where, when a word is repeated enough times, it sort of detaches from its meaning and just becomes a sound with no connotation.
1.2 (detach oneself from) Leave or separate oneself from (a group or place): a figure in brown detached itself from the shadows
More example sentences
  • After his sudden death, it was found that a blood clot had detached itself from inside his knee and found its way into his lungs.
  • In Tibet, there is a separate designation for those who can detach themselves from their physical bodies.
  • The woman, in a wistful reverie, holds her hand round the cup while she waits for the tea to cool, relishing the warm china and the aromatic steam, which she watches as it detaches itself from the brim of the cup.
1.3 (detach oneself from) Avoid or put an end to any connection or association with: the newspaper detached itself from the political parties
More example sentences
  • Where U.S. national interests lie - and Europe's too, especially since after Madrid, it's increasingly hard to sustain the argument that Europeans can avoid terrorism simply by detaching themselves from the United States.
  • It allows people to detach themselves from the problems that afflict society and to separate themselves from any responsibility.
  • I'm better at detaching myself from [my work] as time goes on.
free oneself from, separate oneself from, segregate oneself from;
move away from, split off from;
leave, abandon
dissociate oneself from, divorce oneself from, alienate oneself from, separate (oneself) from, segregate oneself from, isolate oneself from, cut oneself off from;
break away from, disaffiliate oneself from, defect from;
leave, quit, withdraw from, break with
2 (usually be detached) Military Send (a group of soldiers or ships) on a separate mission: our crew was detached to Puerto Rico for the exercise
More example sentences
  • The square was then modified so that an element could be detached, marched to be adjacent to the enemy, and the enemy flanked.
  • While in France, the 442nd was detached from the 34th Division and attached to the 36th Division of the Seventh Army.
  • Yamamoto's Midway Force had also detached a powerful Aleutian Screening Force to act as distant cover for Kakuta but this was withdrawn when the battle off Midway failed to go Yamamoto's way.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'discharge a gun'): from French détacher, earlier destacher, from des- (expressing reversal) + attacher 'attach'.

Words that rhyme with detach

attach, batch, catch, crosshatch, hatch, latch, match, mismatch, natch, outmatch, patch, scratch, thatch

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·tach

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.