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 With both states showing progress in fighting the virus, Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Murphy have begun to offer details on reopening from the lockdowns in the months ahead. New York Times, "Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: Latest Updates," 28 Apr. 2020 Rusyniak also announced the state has issued guidelines requiring nursing homes to provide details on positive cases and deaths to nursing home residents and their legal guardians who request that information. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Nursing homes now account for one-third of Indiana coronavirus deaths," 27 Apr. 2020 Bamberg can’t offer details about the speech -- no spoilers, please! Mary Colurso |, al, "Alabama actress fights for her life (and unborn child) in ‘Dying for Motherhood’," 25 Apr. 2020 The Cincinnati Police Department and Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office will not offer more details about the cases. Anne Saker,, "6 local women have been fatally shot during the stay-at-home order – more than all of 2019," 24 Apr. 2020 White House officials offered few details after the president's Twitter announcement Monday night. NBC News, "China calls for end of blaming and 'finger-pointing'," 23 Apr. 2020 On Monday, Wilson made the closure of his venue permanent but did not provide further details. Houston Chronicle, "Texas venue that launched Janis Joplin's career set to close," 21 Apr. 2020 Authorities did not provide further details or give a motive for the killings. Rob Gillies,, "Canadian police say 22 victims after rampage in Nova Scotia," 21 Apr. 2020 Police in San Marcos, where the shooting occurred, planned to provide more details at a Sunday news conference, the newspaper reported. Fox News, "Texas ambush shooting leaves 1 police officer dead, 2 wounded: reports," 19 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On April 17, Chanda, Yin and 29 co-authors from institutions around the world published a paper detailing their findings on the preprint server Kim Tingley, New York Times, "Can ‘Team Science’ Yield a Covid-19 Treatment?," 13 May 2020 Administration officials said that states were asked to detail their needs and capacities and that the $11 billion in aid would be distributed to meet those needs. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump claims US outpaces world in coronavirus testing, but numbers tell different story," 12 May 2020 Executives detailed the company’s recently concluded financial results for 2019. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Dallas Morning News digital subscriptions rise 29% in 2019, hit record pace during pandemic," 12 May 2020 On Monday, the UK government offered some clarity, by publishing a 50-page guidance document detailing how England hopes to ease lockdown measures. Glen Levy And Patrick Snell, CNN, "'Extremely harsh' if Liverpool isn't awarded title, says Manchester United great," 12 May 2020 To see something so humble as toast rendered with such dedication to detail is wonderful. Soleil Ho,, "Toast—thick, fluffy and crisp—is this artist’s unlikely muse," 11 May 2020 In the fall of 2018, Local 888 met with the state’s secretary of veterans affairs to detail chronic understaffing and inform him that the union had no confidence in the home’s leadership. David Armstrong, ProPublica, "Superintendent Bragged About VA Review of Short-Staffed Soldiers Home. Two Months Later, 73 Veterans Are Dead.," 11 May 2020 Fairhope Brewing will reopen its taproom at 4 p.m. Monday, May 11, with reduced capacity, reduced hours and other measures detailed on the brewery’s Facebook page. al, "What’s open in Lower Alabama? Restaurants set tables," 11 May 2020 Or, if your renovation needs to accommodate an unusual layout or highly specific cooking requirements (specially sized drawers, say, or countertops of a particular height), custom cabinetry and detailing can ensure your needs are met. Shoko Wanger, House Beautiful, "This Is Why Ikea Kitchens Are So Affordable," 8 May 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

1 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Detail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 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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