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A situation in which two states have enough weapons (typically nuclear) to ensure that should one launch an attack the other would be able to respond in a strong enough way to destroy the attacker. Both would be destroyed.

This situation is supposed to prevent either side from launching such an attack.

The Cold War between the USA and the USSR in the 20th Century is an example of such a situation.
With our stockpiles of nukes we have mutually assured destruction in the case of a launch.
by Flame August 29, 2003
1. (MAD) Any situation or course of action which ensures the total erradication of all parties involved.

2. Often used to describe what would have happened in the Cold War Era were one side to have attacked the other using nuclear weapons, causing the other side to retaliate, ensuring the nuclear obliteration of most of Asia and North America.
1. When Phil and Bob entered into that gay-suicide-love-pact, they were pursuing a course of mutually assured destruction.

2. Mutually assured destruction never happened in the Cold War -- look around you people; we're living in America, not the movie Cyborg.
by Al October 12, 2003
a.k.a. MAD, refers to the military stalemate between Russia and USA between late 1940 and the present. The basic premise is that each side has so many nuclear weapons in its arsenal, that strike/counter strike would destroy both combatants.
by Anonymous September 03, 2003
Of two warring factions, where one group strikes and the other retaliates with the same force, resulting in the obliteration of both.
"Speak of mutually assured destruction... nice story, tell it to Reader's Digest!"
by Saucy September 02, 2003
1. A position whereby the United States and the USSR - Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - would in a nuclear war, be able to destroy each other with their arsenals of nuclear weapons. Each maintaining the possibility to strike the other even if one party fired first. The phrase mutually assured destruction thereby implies that both parties assumed the ability to strike and destroy the other. A catastrophic eventuality if it ever arose. Both parties thus maintained this position, assuring each other than nuclear weapons would not be used, even if a conventional war broke out. The downfall of the Soviet system and emergence of the Russian federation did not make a nuclear war ineffectual, rather it maintains that the two parties still have the capability - and underscores the fact that a nuclear war between these nuclear giants is an inevitability.
2. While this term is specifically used to term the USA and Russia, it may also be applied to China as the latter has built an intercontinental ballistic arsenal that would be deployable if the USA and China ever faced off.
by situationst September 02, 2003
The "lose-lose" scenario in any kind of war, although nuclear war is often associated with this term.
"From my reading of various pronoucements made by the Russian High Command over the years, I am convinced that they will never again permit their nation to be threatened... no matter what the cost... that cost itself may actually is Mutually Assured Destruction."

-- Alan Moore, as the voice of Professor Milton Glass, "Dr. Manhattan: Super-Powers and the Superpowers", in Watchmen (DC Comics, 1986)
by T-Boy August 29, 2003
Where two guys face each other, wanking off, and try to have both ejaculates collide in mid-air, thus averting catastrophe.
Shall we save the world again tomorrow, Bill?

...from mutually assured destruction
by Big Pawel April 20, 2008
Difficult to define exactly, but it's not the actual *name* of a situation or doctrine. Rather, it describes the outcome of a given action in the circumstances:
In the case of the US and USSR, their shared determination to retaliate to an attack by the other - given the size of their nuclear arsenals - would've assured mutual destruction.
by Richter September 20, 2003