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 Critics praised the book for its detail, insight, plot twists and candid portrait of the more tedious parts of the spy trade, and cited it as a model for how the CIA man’s skills in observation can be employed by a fiction writer. Hillel Italie,, "Jason Matthews, author of ‘Red Sparrow’ thrillers, dies," 29 Apr. 2021 Critics praised the book for its detail, insight, plot twists and candid portrait of the more tedious parts of the spy trade, and cited it as a model for how the CIA man's skills in observation can be employed by a fiction writer., "Jason Matthews, author of ‘Red Sparrow’ thrillers, dies," 29 Apr. 2021 The whole thing is wild, wooly, and wonderfully Swedish (my favorite detail is the prison interrogator who conducts a hard-nosed interview in his Birkenstocks). Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "3 Swedish Shows to Binge When You're Done Watching French TV," 27 Apr. 2021 Directed by Shaka King, the film explores the dynamic between Hampton and William O’Neal (Stanfield), the head of his security detail who was also an FBI informant and instrumental in the raid that took Hampton’s life. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, "Daniel Kaluuya beat his costar for Oscar win. How often does that happen?," 25 Apr. 2021 Clyburn then went around the metal detector with his security detail to return to the House floor, the source confirmed. Annie Grayer, CNN, "Jim Clyburn says he was fined for avoiding metal detectors off the House floor," 22 Apr. 2021 There are few people more passionate than car lovers, many of whom are drawn to luxury cars for their immaculate detail, beauty and performance. Emma Reynolds, Forbes, "Bentley Residences, The First Bentley-Branded Luxury Residential Tower, Will Arrive In Miami In 2026," 8 Apr. 2021 Oakland lost its sideshow detail when City Administrator Ed Reiskin ordered cuts to patch a budget deficit in late December. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "As homicides spike, Oakland's police chief tests a new strategy," 2 Apr. 2021 Jenner was at home, but the trespasser couldn’t get to her; her security detail had her safely tucked away somewhere inside of the house. Ineye Komonibo,, "Kendall Jenner Adds Security After Facing Death Threats From Her Stalkers," 31 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That gives the companies a chance to detail their plans and deliver on some intermediate green milestones, while also keeping investors happy with growing dividends. Rochelle Toplensky, WSJ, "Oil’s Rebound Greases the Way for Energy Giants’ Green Pitch," 29 Apr. 2021 Though the Recording Academy has yet to detail plans for the show, set to take place March 14 in Los Angeles, Lipa is widely expected to perform on the CBS telecast. Los Angeles Times, "Dua Lipa is pop’s new superstar. She’s also a bit of a mystery," 3 Mar. 2021 At the Black Hat security conference today, former NSA hacker Patrick Wardle plans to detail that technique, which exploits a series of vulnerabilities in both Microsoft Office and macOS to gain full access to the target Mac. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "An '80s File Format Enabled Stealthy Mac Hacking," 5 Aug. 2020 Young didn't detail the terms of the deal he was offered about three weeks ago. Sharon Coolidge, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati City Councilman Wendell Young declines plea deal in 'Gang of Five' texting scandal, calls investigation 'seamy side of politics'," 14 Apr. 2021 The president is expected to detail as much as $2 trillion more in education, health care and other spending initiatives later this month, much of which would be financed by raising taxes on high-earners. Jim Tankersley, Star Tribune, "Democrats prepare plan to raise taxes on multinational corporations," 5 Apr. 2021 People close to the White House said the president isn’t expected to publicly detail his vision for the package for several weeks, and perhaps longer. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Democrats Face Test of Party Unity as They Plan Next Legislative Steps," 12 Mar. 2021 Democrats have dominated mail-voting in the 19 states that detail party registration data, accounting for 48% of ballots, compared to 27% for Republicans. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "Voter turnout 2020: Early voting tops 100 million ballots cast," 3 Nov. 2020 She is expected to detail damage done so far, state and local fire responses and health risks from fires and smoke. The Oregonian/oregonlive Politics Team, oregonlive, "Gov. Kate Brown holding briefing on Oregon wildfires, damage, health risks: Watch Live at 12 p.m.," 9 Sep. 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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Statistics for detail

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Detail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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)
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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