de·​tour | \ ˈdē-ˌtu̇r How to pronounce detour (audio) also di-ˈtu̇r\

Definition of detour

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a deviation from a direct course or the usual procedure especially : a roundabout way temporarily replacing part of a route


detoured; detouring; detours

Definition of detour (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to proceed by a detour detour around road construction

transitive verb

1 : to send by a circuitous route detour traffic around an accident
2 : to avoid by going around : bypass detour an accident site

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Examples of detour in a Sentence


After a number of unexpected detours, we finally arrived at our destination. The little restaurant is worth a detour. We had to make a detour around the heaviest traffic. We took a detour from the main streets. The road is closed ahead, so traffic will have to follow the detour.


We detoured around the heaviest traffic. A police officer was detouring traffic around the scene of the accident. Traffic will be detoured to 72nd Street.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Afterward, take a small detour to Vilenica Cave and descend into an enormous cavern of towering rock pillars and delicate stalactites. National Geographic, "Hiking the Alpe-Adria Trail through Austria, Slovenia, and Italy," 12 June 2019 Bowen carved out a role playing in Australia this season after his career took a detour following his naming in connection with the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. Jeremy Woo,, "2019 NBA Draft Big Board 7.0: Top 100 Prospect Rankings," 5 June 2019 For a good hike, detour in North Adams to climb Mount Greylock, the highest peak in the state at 3,489 feet. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Beautiful Places to See New England Fall Foliage This Year," 5 Oct. 2018 Construction work and detours in the area of Park Road and the Interstate 84 entrance and exit ramps are expected to continue through June and July and more roadways throughout town will be paved and milled, according to town officials. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "Work Continues On Park Road/ I-84, Local Road Projects Continue Through July," 20 June 2018 Then take a detour and head to Galveston, Texas, to take a dip in one of the area’s many dog-friendly beaches on the Gulf Coast. Jessica Migala, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Dog-Friendly Road Trips in the U.S.," 26 July 2018 Friday morning commuters heading into Anchorage will take a new detour past the bridge that was badly damaged Wednesday morning by an 18-wheeler. Laurel Andrews, Anchorage Daily News, "New detour for Friday’s Glenn Highway commuters after day of frustration and unexpected bright spots," 23 Mar. 2018 Signage alerting drivers to the impending closure and detours will appear about two weeks before July 9. David Ibata, ajc, "Roswell sets street closure for Hardscrabble work," 20 June 2018 There will be temporary lane closures and detours on Park Road. Mikaela Porter,, "Raymond Road In West Hartford Closed Until Friday," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But if tolling started now, drivers would encounter even worse congestion on Alaskan Way, where demolition crews are taking down the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and on First Avenue, which is crowded with detouring buses that had used the viaduct. USA TODAY, "Retired monkeys, freeze-dried blood, ‘Hidden Figures Way’: News from around our 50 states," 14 June 2019 Display maps will show work locations and detour routes., "Portland metro Monday traffic: Fleet departures lift bridges during morning commute," 10 June 2019 Finally in a pennant race, their playoff drought at stake, the Mariners can’t let emotional attachment detour their 17-year mission to get back to the postseason. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Mariners didn’t trade for a starting pitcher, putting Felix Hernandez’s next start under microscope," 31 July 2018 Eastbound traffic will be detoured near Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery, along the south side of the cemetery as crews grind down pavement and repair the road surface. Rosemarie Stein,, "Portland Metro Tuesday Traffic: Nighttime road work on I-5 continues with ramps closed," 8 May 2018 Gascoigne employees looked on from a safe distance near the entrance to the Ship Canal Trail, and passers-by and cyclists stopped to snap photos before detouring around the smoking fire to continue on the trail. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "Four-alarm fire at lumber yard on Seattle’s Ship Canal still smoldering," 11 Nov. 2018 SEPTA Bus Routes 2, 4, 5, 16, 17, 21, 23, 42, 45, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 44, 47, 47M, 48, 57, 61, 124, and 125 will be detoured from their normal routes through Center City and Old City from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday. Caitlin Mccabe,, "What you need to know about Sunday's St. Patrick's Day Parade," 10 Mar. 2018 The entire road is being rebuilt within the construction site, so traffic will be detoured around the area. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here's a list of summer road construction projects in Menomonee Falls and how to avoid them," 26 June 2018 As a result of reducing bus fleets, Sound Transit Route 532, which Community Transit operates, was canceled; riders must detour to Route 512 from Everett to Lynnwood. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Metro buses still on reduced snow schedules while slush brings new driving risks," 12 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detour.' 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 detour


1738, in the meaning defined above


1836, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for detour


French détour, from Old French destor, from destorner to divert, from des- de- + torner to turn — more at turn

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Statistics for detour

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detour

The first known use of detour was in 1738

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More Definitions for detour



English Language Learners Definition of detour

: to go along a way that is different from and usually longer than the usual or planned way
: to make (someone or something) go in a direction that is not planned or expected
: to avoid (something) by going around it


de·​tour | \ ˈdē-ˌtu̇r How to pronounce detour (audio) \

Kids Definition of detour

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a roundabout way that temporarily replaces part of a regular route


detoured; detouring

Kids Definition of detour (Entry 2 of 2)

: to go or make go on a different route than usual All cars were detoured.

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More from Merriam-Webster on detour

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detour

Spanish Central: Translation of detour

Nglish: Translation of detour for Spanish Speakers

Comments on detour

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showing courage and determination

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