1 of 2


: extended treatment of or attention to particular items
explaining without going into detail
giving careful attention to detail
: a part of a whole: such as
: a small and subordinate part : particular
planned the wedding down to the smallest detail
also : a reproduction of such a part of a work of art
: a part considered or requiring to be considered separately from the whole
discussing the details of the building's columns
: the small elements that collectively constitute a work of art
admire the great detail of his work
photography : the small elements of an image corresponding to those of the subject
strong lighting to achieve clarity of detail
: selection of a person or group for a particular task (as in military service)
: the person or group selected
a member of a security detail
police details at the parade
: the task to be performed
were assigned to kitchen detail


2 of 2


detailed; detailing; details

transitive verb

: to report minutely and distinctly : to report with close attention to small elements : specify
detailed their grievances
wrote a letter detailing her vacation
: to assign to a particular task
was detailed to another unit during maneuvers
: to furnish with the smaller elements of design and finish
trimmings that detail slips and petticoats
: to clean and refurbish (a vehicle) very thoroughly and meticulously
detail a car

intransitive verb

: to make detail drawings
detailer noun
in detail
: with all the particulars
explained the job in detail
Choose the Right Synonym for detail

item, detail, particular mean one of the distinct parts of a whole.

item applies to each thing specified separately in a list or in a group of things that might be listed or enumerated.

every item on the list

detail applies to one of the small component parts of a larger whole such as a task, building, painting, narration, or process.

leave the details to others

particular stresses the smallness, singleness, and especially the concreteness of a detail or item.

a description that included few particulars

Examples of detail in a Sentence

Noun Every detail of the wedding was carefully planned. They designed every detail of the house. the wooden box's fine carved detail We admired the detail of the artist's work. The job requires attention to detail. The article provides further details. You left out an important detail about their new baby: is it a girl or boy? The novel is full of historical details. The book includes a wealth of detail on living conditions aboard ships at that time. The novel is full of historical detail. Verb The book details the series of events that led to the tragedy. She wrote a letter detailing her complaints. The Army has detailed him to investigate the complaints.
Recent Examples on the Web
Turner and Nist haven’t shared many details regarding the reason for their split, but Nist told GMA that the revelations in the report did not play a part in their divorce. Carly Thomas, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Apr. 2024 The Tuesday meeting was the day that Licata was supposed to have brought details about what could be done to downsize the district. Jimena Tavel, Miami Herald, 17 Apr. 2024 Even supporters of the 11 who went on trial, such as the famed radical Emma Goldman, knew few details about them, Zimmerman said. Jim Higgins, Journal Sentinel, 17 Apr. 2024 The person wasn't authorized to discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity. Eric Tucker,, 16 Apr. 2024 Exact character details are being kept under wraps, but sources say Buscemi will play the new principal of Nevermore Academy. Joe Otterson, Variety, 16 Apr. 2024 These details led to audible gasps and flashes of cameras as the tent filled throughout the night. Liza Esquibias, Peoplemag, 16 Apr. 2024 But Cam’s own backstory, with her father, has enough details and twists to fuel a miniseries of its own. Judy Berman, TIME, 16 Apr. 2024 Since then, she’s shared the new project’s main cover plus details on the four deluxe editions, as well as confirming that Post Malone and Florence + The Machine are both featured on the album. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 5 Apr. 2024
Tory also made a public Instagram video detailing the ordeal and posted about it in cat rescue groups on Facebook. Caroline Petrow-Cohen, Los Angeles Times, 18 Apr. 2024 The Dead to Me actress, who doesn’t share his gripes with the genre, then detailed the origins of her recent obsession. Shania Russell,, 17 Apr. 2024 The report, which the committee voted down late Monday, detailed how Plocher, through his office, blocked several subpoenas issued by the committee to compel witnesses to testify. Kacen Bayless, Kansas City Star, 17 Apr. 2024 Financial records obtained by the Idaho Statesman through public records requests across a dozen public entities detail the taxpayer dollars already spent on the Kohberger case. Kevin Fixler, Idaho Statesman, 17 Apr. 2024 Meanwhile, Reena herself gets lost in the shuffle, despite copious flashbacks that detail not only the months leading up to her passing but the decades of family history that came before. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Apr. 2024 Officer Yvette Norman, the CHP’s Auburn office spokeswoman, declined to detail the incident’s cause but said a driver and a passenger were in a Mazda 3 and were involved in the collision with a Mercedes-Benz. Ishani Desai, Sacramento Bee, 16 Apr. 2024 The agenda does not detail the item, but questions about the eligibility of Place 2 candidate Angel Hidalgo have swirled for months. Noah Alcala Bach, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 16 Apr. 2024 The swimsuit is outfitted with ruffle detailing along the plunging neckline and straps, an adjustable tied back, and subtle ruching along the bodice. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 16 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'detail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

French détail, from Old French detail slice, piece, from detaillier to cut in pieces, from de- + taillier to cut — more at tailor

First Known Use


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of detail was in 1603

Dictionary Entries Near detail

Cite this Entry

“Detail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a dealing with something item by item
go into detail about an event
: a small part or feature : item
the details of a story
: selection (as of a group of soldiers) for some special service
: a soldier or group of soldiers appointed for special duty


2 of 2 verb
: to report in detail : specify
detailed their complaints
: to assign to a task
detailer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on detail

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