1 of 2


: extended treatment of or attention to particular items
explaining without going into detail
giving careful attention to detail
: a part of a whole: such as
: 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
: a part considered or requiring to be considered separately from the whole
discussing the details of the building's columns
: the small elements that collectively constitute a work of art
admire the great detail of his work
photography : the small elements of an image corresponding to those of the subject
strong lighting to achieve clarity of detail
: selection of a person or group for a particular task (as in military service)
: the person or group selected
a member of a security detail
police details at the parade
: the task to be performed
were assigned to kitchen detail


2 of 2


detailed; detailing; details

transitive verb

: to report minutely and distinctly : to report with close attention to small elements : specify
detailed their grievances
wrote a letter detailing her vacation
: to assign to a particular task
was detailed to another unit during maneuvers
: to furnish with the smaller elements of design and finish
trimmings that detail slips and petticoats
: to clean and refurbish (a vehicle) very thoroughly and meticulously
detail a car

intransitive verb

: to make detail drawings
detailer noun
in detail
: with all the particulars
explained the job in detail
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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Kaplan does this not simply by examining the creation and eventual victory of the Jeffersonian Republican Party but by reading Jefferson’s letters and public texts on this subject with what might be described as a forensic attention to detail. Carol Berkin, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2022 Notice the subtle illumination, the attention to detail. Hiawatha Bray,, 21 Nov. 2022 Now his teammates feel that attention to detail is becoming visible on the court. Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 Falke also offers an excellent attention to detail with functional touches, including flat stitching to prevent chafing and elasticized leg cuffs so these boxers stay put. Todd Plummer, Robb Report, 16 Nov. 2022 Silas stressed greater attention to detail from his squad pregame, with both his young guards and Houston's bigs holding culpability for the slew of unforced errors. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 15 Nov. 2022 Pence, by contrast, praises Trump’s attention to detail. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 Her 18k gold and gemstone collection, handcrafted entirely in New York City, is comprised primarily one-of-a-kind and limited production pieces-expertly constructed with uncompromising gem quality and extraordinary attention to detail. Sarah Ryan, Town & Country, 14 Nov. 2022 Courses are prepared with near-microscopic attention to detail (certainly tweezers are employed). Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 14 Nov. 2022
That report does not detail individual wolf killings in the state, where wolves can be legally killed year-round without a permit, but does so in aggregate form, per Wyoming law. Miles Blumhardt, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2022 The two-page special appeals court ruling did not detail the judges’ reasoning in allowing the matter to proceed. Omari Daniels, Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2022 The insider did not detail how Hadid and DiCaprio interacted inside the party together. Alyssa Bailey, ELLE, 1 Nov. 2022 In her order, Pan did not detail her rationale for blocking the merger. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 31 Oct. 2022 The park did not detail the extent of the injuries. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 27 Oct. 2022 The Army did not detail how many separations were due to having been denied a religious exemption. Kelly Laco, Fox News, 3 Oct. 2022 As is common, Friday’s notice of appeal did not detail arguments that the state will make at the appeals court. Jim Saunders, Orlando Sentinel, 19 Sep. 2022 Although the log doesn’t detail the subject of those communications, Roger Van Komen, manager of the church’s southeast region family services department, said in a deposition also included with the filing that Nelson discussed the case with Herrod. Michael Rezendes And Jason Dearen, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of detail was in 1603

Dictionary Entries Near detail

Cite this Entry

“Detail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

detail 1 of 2


: a dealing with something item by item
go into detail about an event
: a small part or feature : item
the details of a story
: selection (as of a group of soldiers) for some special service
: a soldier or group of soldiers appointed for special duty
in detail
: item by item leaving out nothing : thoroughly
explained the assignment in detail


2 of 2


: to report in detail : specify
detailed their complaints
: to assign to a task
detailer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on detail

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.