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

On July 9, Delta hosted a birthday soiree for Sybil Peacock Harmon at her retirement home in Acworth, Ga., full of sentimental details. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Delta throws 102nd birthday party for pioneering flight attendant, WWII vet," 13 July 2018 The White House released Trump’s blueprint for tackling the issue in May. However, a lack of detail left many skeptical about the chances of seeing big pharma companies voluntarily reduce their prices. David Meyer, Fortune, "After Trump Criticism, Pfizer Backtracks on Drug Price Hikes—For Now," 11 July 2018 Sharing strangers’ likenesses online is a huge invasion of privacy, not to mention the sheer quantity of details Blair included that, while seemingly innocuous, could be — and ultimately were — identifying attributes. Rosemary Donahue, Allure, "The Problem With "Plane Bae" and Using Strangers for Entertainment," 11 July 2018 None of the details about the rights-seekers’ old crimes were revealed during the hearings. Scott Maxwell,, "In Florida, getting back civil rights means groveling to politicians," 11 July 2018 No other details about the baby's death were released. CBS News, "Police say they found body of baby whose mother said she couldn't remember last 4 days," 7 July 2018 No further details were available as police continued to investigate, Hilton said. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Five taken to hospital after Elgin collision," 6 July 2018 Cal Fire and the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the death, but no further details were released. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "Why was Sacramento suddenly cloudy this morning? Blame Fabio, weather experts say," 6 July 2018 Other details are popular like butterfly and fairy wings on headpieces and as body art, bright hair color in blues, greens, purple and pink and a definite move towards a more eclectic look. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "How to look cool when it's hot: Your expert style guide for Forecastle," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The lawsuit details a lengthy list of allegations, including detainees being locked in their rooms for 12 to 14 hours per day, having inadequate food and being forced to use the toilet under the view of guards. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, "Virginia governor calls for probe into abuse allegations at facility that holds immigrant teens," 21 June 2018 Philadelphia Weekly details the conditions of the facilities through the testimonies of the children who have lived in them. Oona Goodin-smith,, "Bryan Colangelo resigns, a look at Philly's elaborate prom send-offs | Morning Newsletter," 8 June 2018 Artist Jason Snell details the creation of the ArtWorks mural of Ezzard Charles on Liberty and Republic streets in Over-the-Rhine. Carol Motsinger,, "A dozen new designs will transform Cincinnati streets this summer," 7 June 2018 Zimmer details the case of a woman named Lydia Fairchild in Washington state who nearly lost custody of her children when DNA tests didn’t match her children. Susannah Cahalan, Fox News, "You can actually have two sets of DNA," 4 June 2018 The indictment details an $18 million spending spree. Sandra Gomez-aceves,, "Fund Created To Help Paul Manafort Cover Legal Fees In Special Counsel Probe," 30 May 2018 In an essay this month on The Players' Tribune, Lee detailed obstacles he's faced during his basketball career, which included three major injuries and an NCAA postseason ban. Justin Sayers, The Courier-Journal, "Damion Lee to join Golden State Warriors, future in-law Steph Curry," 11 July 2018 Written by Ehrin and called Long Distance, the project details a couple's unexpected long-distance relationship. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "How Freddie Highmore Went From Child Actor to Star of 'The Good Doctor'," 11 July 2018 Since Pulitzer Prize-winning reports from the New York Times and the New Yorker in October 2017 detailed accusations against Weinstein by several women, scores more have come forward with similar tales of intimidation, harassment and assault. Author: Elahe Izadi, Anchorage Daily News, "Harvey Weinstein indicted on new sexual-assault charges, could face life in prison," 2 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

5 Sep 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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