de·​tail | \di-ˈtāl, ˈdē-ˌtāl \

Definition of detail 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extended treatment of or attention to particular items explaining without going into detail giving careful attention to detail

2 : a part of a whole: such as

a : 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

b : a part considered or requiring to be considered separately from the whole discussing the details of the building's columns

c : the small elements that collectively constitute a work of art admire the great detail of his work

d photography : the small elements of an image corresponding to those of the subject strong lighting to achieve clarity of detail

3a : selection of a person or group for a particular task (as in military service)

b(1) : the person or group selected a member of a security detail police details at the parade

(2) : the task to be performed were assigned to kitchen detail

in detail

: with all the particulars explained the job in detail



Definition of detail (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to report minutely and distinctly : to report with close attention to small elements : specify detailed their grievances wrote a letter detailing her vacation

2 : to assign to a particular task was detailed to another unit during maneuvers

3 : to furnish with the smaller elements of design and finish trimmings that detail slips and petticoats

4 : to clean and refurbish (a vehicle) very thoroughly and meticulously detail a car

intransitive verb

: to make detail drawings

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Other Words from detail


detailer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for detail

Synonyms: Noun

item, particular, point

Synonyms: Verb

appoint, assign, attach, commission, constitute, designate, name, nominate, place

Antonyms: Verb

discharge, dismiss, expel, fire

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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


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.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

No other details were released, but many believe this could lead to possible indictments. Doj, USA TODAY, "Live stream: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein holds press conference," 13 July 2018 Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu said no more details would be provided about the bottle. Fox News, "UK police confirm source of Novichok poisoning," 13 July 2018 Still no details are equal to the power of those of the battle for Saipan, which ended in a Japanese surrender roughly three weeks after D-Day—a battle whose cataclysmic effects are on vivid display here. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘The Pacific War in Color: The Enemy Underground’ Review: War, Vividly Rendered," 12 July 2018 No details need to be worked out beforehand and no agency apparatus is needed to carry a pardon out. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Pardon Seekers Have a New Strategy in the Trump Era: ‘It’s Who You Know’," 12 July 2018 No further details were given about the location or size of the trial, as the companies said contracts are still being worked out. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Mercedes-Benz self-driving taxi pilot coming to Silicon Valley in 2019," 11 July 2018 No financial details of the agreement signed Tuesday were announced. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "Tesla will build its 1st factory outside US in Shanghai," 10 July 2018 The reunifications were taking place near the shelters where the children were being detained, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which did not give further details., "Trump appears to walk back 'zero tolerance' immigration policy as it rushes to reunite families," 10 July 2018 The team is expected to release details of any potential activities and ceremonies next week. Paul Dehner Jr.,, "BX: Cincinnati Bengals looking to bring back 1988 Super Bowl team," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Getty Images There are, of course, several differences: the Givenchy dress features delicate lace detailing, buttons down the front, and is cinched with a black belt. Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Ciara Had a Twinning Moment at the Royal Ascot," 22 June 2018 In the suit, Avendaño details her attempts at defending Fowler to higher-ups. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "A former Uber engineer is suing the company for discrimination and sexual harassment," 21 May 2018 In an audio recording obtained by watchdog group Documented and shared with E&E News, Interior energy adviser Vincent DeVito detailed his courtship of energy companies at an event sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. Zack Colman, Scientific American, "A Trump Oil Boom Could Transform This Rocky Mountain Landscape," 13 July 2018 The scans are both mesmerizing and a little gruesome, but most importantly they are detailed in a way that x-rays simply are not, which could lead to more accurate and personalized diagnoses. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Check Out These Awesome New 3D, Full-Color X-Rays," 13 July 2018 Detour signs will be posted as well detailing routes available for drivers, Hattaway said. Ryan Gillespie,, "Pedestrian bridge to take shape as steel truss is installed during Colonial Drive closure," 12 July 2018 Ichwandardi has been detailing the process on his Twitter account almost daily. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "An Animator is Meticulously Creating a Pixel Art Version of Childish Gambino's 'This is America' Video," 11 July 2018 Former Ohio State wrestlers have come forward detailing the abuse. Marilyn Icsman,, "Here's the latest on Rep. Jim Jordan's sexual abuse scandal," 9 July 2018 The Bates County Sheriff's Office detailed the arrests in a statement released Friday: On June 11, Bates County detectives stopped a vehicle on old U.S. 71 and County Road 11002. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Meth lab found in Bates County garage, sheriff’s office says. Four arrested," 7 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of detail


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for detail


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


see detail entry 1

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Statistics for detail

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detail

The first known use of detail was in 1603

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More Definitions for detail



English Language Learners Definition of detail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small part of something

: the small parts of something

: a particular fact or piece of information about something or someone



English Language Learners Definition of detail (Entry 2 of 2)

: to state particular facts or information about (something) : to describe or discuss the details of (something)

: to thoroughly clean (a car) in an attempt to make it look new

: to choose (a person or group of people) to do a special job


de·​tail | \di-ˈtāl, ˈdē-ˌtāl\

Kids Definition of detail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dealing with something with attention to each item The news story went into detail.

2 : a small part of something larger : item Every detail of the wedding was perfect.

3 : a soldier or group of soldiers picked for special duty


detailed; detailing

Kids Definition of detail (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to report with attention to each item The book detailed the events.

2 : to select for some special duty

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Comments on detail

What made you want to look up detail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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