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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
He’s spent the last several weeks gag-ordered and squirming as his salacious behavior is examined in forensic detail at a hush-money, election-fraud trial in New York. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2024 While Gorga didn’t share further details, during the season 14 premiere that aired Sunday, May 5, Giudice, 51, and Aydin, 47, shared social media rumors about their castmates during the episode. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 11 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for detail 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'detail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: 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


2 of 2 verb
: to report in detail : specify
detailed their complaints
: to assign to a task
detailer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on detail

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