Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To separate or unfasten; disconnect: detach a check from the checkbook; detach burs from one's coat.
  • transitive v. To remove from association or union with something: detach a calf from its mother; detached herself from the group.
  • transitive v. To send (troops or ships, for example) on a special mission.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To take apart from; to take off.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To push asunder; to come off or separate from anything; to disengage.
  • transitive v. To part; to separate or disunite; to disengage; -- the opposite of attach
  • transitive v. To separate for a special object or use; -- used especially in military language.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To unfasten; disunite; disengage and separate, as one thing from another: as, to detach a locomotive from a train; to detach a rock from its bed; to detach the seal from a document; to detach a man from his party.
  • To separate for a special purpose or service; send away, as from a post of duty or a larger body, on a distinct mission: chiefly in military use: as, to detach a ship or a regiment for some special duty; to detach an officer from a ship or station.
  • Synonyms To sever, withdraw, draw off, disjoin, disconnect unhitch.
  • To detail.
  • To become detached or separated; separate or disunite itself or one's self.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. separate (a small unit) from a larger, especially for a special assignment
  • v. come to be detached
  • v. cause to become detached or separated; take off

Etymologies

French détacher, from Old French destachier : des-, de- + attachier, to attach; see attach.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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