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

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

Kerr is done providing every detail and step of Durant's rehab progress. CBS News, "NBA Finals: Raptors top Warriors 105-92 in Game 4, giving them 3-1 lead in series," 8 June 2019 Studies show that blood donation declines when rewarded by money; worse still, money induces donors to withhold details of medical conditions. The Economist, "The trouble with economics," 8 June 2019 Elements such as iron and manganese that come in with the water can color the silica, making beautiful patterns of red, brown and black, but sometimes this destroys the details of the woody structure. Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Smithsonian, "How Do Fossils Form?," 8 June 2019 The two men swapped emails in May 2014 to hash out details of the transaction. New York Times, "How a Princeton Graduate Accused of Killing His Father Got the Gun," 7 June 2019 Documents showing details of the sale have not yet been recorded and posted by either the Boulder County Assessor’s Office or the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder. Charlie Brennan, The Denver Post, "Sale of historic Gold Hill Store & Pub is completed," 7 June 2019 And there were further details of the director’s quest for authenticity on that film—spitting on Thurman in one scene, choking her with a chain in another. Irina Aleksander, Vogue, "Margot Robbie on Quentin Tarantino, Marriage, and the One Word She Hates Being Called," 6 June 2019 The film starts with a promising premise, and Jones lays out the details of his main character in a careful, mannered fashion. Katie Walsh, Twin Cities, "‘Tomorrow Man’ script fails fascinating characters, but Danner, Lithgow shine," 6 June 2019 We may still be absorbed in the details of the battle: Was the American near-disaster on Omaha Beach a consequence of bad luck, and its ultimate outcome one of sheer bravery? Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Europe and America Seventy-Five Years After D Day," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Agricultural economist Diego Rose of Tulane University detailed the findings at this week’s annual American Society for Nutrition meeting. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Choose Chicken Over Beef to Dramatically Cut Carbon Footprint, Study Shows," 11 June 2019 In a press release, WilmerHale detailed how Furie has enforced his intellectual property rights since 2017, ending the use of Pepe the Frog by a series of alt-right and neo-Nazi websites. Jack Guy, CNN, "Infowars to pay Pepe the Frog creator $15,000 to settle copyright dispute," 11 June 2019 But the report details multiple contacts between the two. Mary Clare Jalonick,, "Democrats push ahead with hearings on Mueller’s Russia report," 10 June 2019 But the report details multiple contacts between the two. Mary Clare Jalonick,, "Democrats begin public airing of Mueller report," 9 June 2019 This might be shocking, given their proximity to biblical narratives and detailed, psychological portraits. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "The Rijksmuseum displayed ‘all the Rembrandts,’ and crowds went crazy," 7 June 2019 For years, his research had zeroed in on issues both broad, like management credibility, and detailed, like a flawed fan blade inside GE’s turbines, that kept proving prescient. ... David Benoit, WSJ, "GE’s Nemesis: An Eerily Prescient Bear," 7 June 2019 The article detailed the deaths of 11 climbers that year, including a British man named David Sharp, who froze to death while at least 40 other climbers stepped past him on their way up and down from the summit. Michael Kodas, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Mount Everest is packed. Whose fault is that?," 7 June 2019 This morning Google detailed its Stadia streaming service, or at least gave us more details after a relatively info-light reveal at March’s Game Developers Conference. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Google's play-anywhere Stadia game service gets a Founder's Edition bundle, pricing, and more," 6 June 2019

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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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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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

What made you want to look up detail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

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