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


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

item, particular, point

Synonyms: Verb

post, station

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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

After Millie Bobby Brown expressed her desire to be cast as an extra and Noah Centineo shared a very Noah video of his celebration on Instagram, fans have turned their attention to one very important detail : who will play John Ambrose? Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Social Media Thinks Cole Sprouse, KJ Apa, or Shawn Mendes Should Be Cast in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”," 20 Dec. 2018 This isn't sufficient to determine the structure down to the atomic detail. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers make RAM from a phase change we don’t entirely understand," 18 Dec. 2018 But seclusion is only part of the draw—there's also the over-the-top attention to detail. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "The Best Room At...Six Senses Zil Pasyon," 13 Nov. 2018 That’s what this is all about, attention to detail. Adam Jude, The Seattle Times, "UW’s Chris Petersen on Stanford, Husky Stadium crowd, Keith Taylor, bye week and more," 5 Nov. 2018 Now, in a new profile of Prince Charles in Vanity Fair, Camilla's role once her husband assumes the throne has finally been revealed in more detail. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Camilla's Title Will Be When Prince Charles Becomes King," 3 Nov. 2018 Kardashian announced the two new fragrances via Instagram on Monday, revealing the formulation of their scents in detail. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Kim Kardashian Is Launching Two Brand-New KKW Body Fragrances," 1 Nov. 2018 Our separate story on Windows Sandbox goes into more detail. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's latest Windows 10 build kills passwords, simplifies Start, and adds fun 'kaomoji'," 19 Dec. 2018 The new declarations didn’t come with more details. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Cuomo Lays Out His Third-Term Priorities," 17 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Here's a master timeline detailing the crazy ups and downs of the past year-and-a-half in Jake's life. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Jake Paul's Biggest Controversies," 26 Sep. 2018 The American actress paired the gown with a priceless tiara from Queen Elizabeth and a 16-foot veil detailed with flowers representing all fifty-three countries of the British Commonwealth. Southern Living, "The Estimated Cost Of Meghan Markle's Wedding Dress," 14 June 2018 The star didn't detail whether any of his upcoming shots might include Lili Reinhart, but one Riverdale cast member inquired about working with Cole. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Mark Consuelos Asked "Riverdale" Costar Cole Sprouse to Take His Headshot," 21 Dec. 2018 With its tweed material and ticket pocket detailing, Paltrow’s Tom Ford blazer and cropped pants came with the hallmarks of a Saville Row creation, but the form-fitting silhouette kept things feminine. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk Take the Power Suit Into Couple’s Territory," 5 Dec. 2018 As for how the aircraft operates, St. Clair details the mechanics in a handy explainer video. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "The 'Flex-Plane' Drone Flaps Its Wings Like a Pterodactyl," 28 Nov. 2018 Chan, the National Party leader, had told The Associated Press in July that police approached him with documents detailing his speeches and activities since the party's formation in 2016. Fox News, "In a first, Hong Kong bans pro-independence political party," 23 Sep. 2018 In a post on his website, Joseph Turner, a conservative activist who runs a nationalist, anti-immigration advocacy group, detailed the alleged incident and attributed the account to two anonymous sources. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "California lawmaker reprimanded for sexual ‘locker room talk’ about his colleagues," 11 July 2018 Las Vegas police and the FBI have refused to comment on what have now been nine weekly releases of police documents detailing wrenching accounts of pain, perseverance and luck in the attack that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. Washington Post, "Records: Police guarded Vegas showroom after Oct. 1 attack," 3 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

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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Statistics for detail

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on detail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detail

Spanish Central: Translation of detail

Nglish: Translation of detail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on detail

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important, real, or meaningful

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