de·​tail | \ di-ˈtāl How to pronounce detail (audio) , ˈdē-ˌtāl How to pronounce detail (audio) \

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


detailed; detailing; details

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 for detail

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The inspector general’s timeline lays out in detail how opportunities were missed to more closely assess MCAS. Alan Levin,, "Boeing Withheld Data on System Linked to Crashes, Report Says," 1 July 2020 Plant growth and anatomy is then discussed in detail. Sally Peterson, oregonlive, "’The New Gardener’s Handbook” awakens intuitive skills, plant passion," 30 June 2020 Three years after the impact, Hera will arrive to study Dimorphos in detail, measuring physical properties of the moon, studying the DART impact and study its orbit. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "International Asteroid Day: A look at NASA's first planetary defense mission," 30 June 2020 Security researcher CTurt laid out the FreeDVDBoot discovery and method in detail in a blog post this weekend. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "New hack runs homebrew code from DVD-R on unmodified PlayStation 2," 29 June 2020 Along with launching a docuseries called #COMPLEXion that unpacks these issues in detail, Davuluri recently started a petition calling to end the production of skin-whitening products and the toxic messaging behind them. Thatiana Diaz,, "The Skin-Lightening Industry Is Facing A Long Overdue Reckoning," 26 June 2020 By avoiding the issues of manipulating odor molecules entirely and instead going directly to the brain, Chong and his colleagues were able to investigate in detail the aspects of brain activity that matter most for our sense of smell. Grace Huckins, Wired, "Scientists Taught Mice to Smell an Odor That Doesn’t Exist," 25 June 2020 Logistical and chronological issues mean that Congress will be unable to investigate its claims in detail before November’s presidential election. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "John Bolton: American Coward," 18 June 2020 On Monday, Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter-LA, and four other activists were invited to present the People’s Budget in person and in detail at a City Council meeting. NBC News, "Los Angeles activists were already pushing to defund the police. Then George Floyd died.," 14 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The release does not detail how long the figurine was hanging in the station, or whether reports about it had been made before Feb. 13. Talia Soglin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Fire investigation into hanging brown figurine finds failure in department culture; charges will be filed," 30 June 2020 The agency didn’t detail the circumstances of his disappearance in a news release Wednesday. oregonlive, "Oregon authorities ask for help finding missing foster child," 25 June 2020 The district may also purchase Plexiglas dividers, estimated at $74.33 each, though the spending document did not detail how many dividers the district would need. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Masks for every student, 30,000 laptops and more: How JCPS plans to spend COVID-19 funds," 23 June 2020 The book is expected to detail other pressure campaigns on governments, according to a book preview released last week by Simon & Schuster. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "What we learned from John Bolton's book on the Trump administration," 18 June 2020 Joe Reitz took time to detail what was done in the park during its three-year shutdown for reconstruction. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "Overlook Park in Avon Lake opens after complete reconstruction," 15 June 2020 The confirmation from Shelby also explains how the company has handled contact tracing efforts, but does not detail any plans to alert all workers at the plant about any infections that occur. Chase Difeliciantonio,, "Tesla safety chief: Coronavirus not circulating at Fremont facility," 11 June 2020 Officials did not detail how such a certification system could be set up or might work in practice. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Ahmaud Arbery's relatives, other families meet with Trump ahead of signing of order on policing," 17 June 2020 Watch below as Bozoma Saint John Luvvie Ajayi Jones detail their mission being #ShareTheMicNow initiative with ESSENCE Assistant Fashion Editor, Nandi Howard. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Bozoma Saint John And Luvvie Ajayi Jones Detail The #ShareTheMic Initiative," 17 June 2020

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

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

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Time Traveler for detail

Time Traveler

The first known use of detail was in 1603

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Statistics for detail

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Detail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for detail


How to pronounce detail (audio) How to pronounce detail (audio)

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)
US : to thoroughly clean (a car) in an attempt to make it look new
formal : to choose (a person or group of people) to do a special job


de·​tail | \ di-ˈtāl How to pronounce detail (audio) , 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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More from Merriam-Webster on detail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detail

Spanish Central: Translation of detail

Nglish: Translation of detail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detail for Arabic Speakers

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