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

Noun 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. Verb 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 When visiting Red Pearl Restaurant, first take a detour to the seafood tanks in a corner of the adjoining Super Oriental Market. Eric Velasco, al, "This restaurant and market serves some of Birmingham’s most authentic Chinese food," 21 Jan. 2020 Unfortunately, when he is called to Baghdad to broker peace in post-war Iraq, our hero's new journey takes a dangerous detour into the direct line of fire. Ineye Komonibo,, "The Stars Of Knives Out & Narcos Are Ill-Fated Lovers In New Netflix Political Thriller," 16 Jan. 2020 This suggests that the whale's magnetic receptor, or ability to read its map of the area, could be what's causing the whale to take a detour — not that the map is incorrect, Granger said. Fox News, "Solar storms might be causing gray whales to get lost," 13 Jan. 2020 Last year, during Swift’s Reputation tour, Woodford took a detour between concerts in Houston and Arlington to visit her alma mater and talk to students at Reagan High School. Krista Torralva,, "San Antonio woman, a singer and dancer with Taylor Swift, gives back to community’s performing arts," 30 Nov. 2019 The storybook turnaround under Mullen — whose 18-5 mark at UF is better than any coach hired after the 2017 season — took a detour last season against Missouri. Edgar Thompson,, "Gators look to end two-game skid against Missouri," 12 Nov. 2019 The 49ers’ crazy dream season took a jarring detour Monday night in a 27-24 overtime defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. Scott Ostler,, "49ers’ dream season veers off-road in OT loss to Seahawks," 11 Nov. 2019 But the march to that digital future has taken a notable detour in Philadelphia. CBS News, "Meet the Philadelphia councilman stopping America from going cashless," 19 Oct. 2019 Robbed of valuable productivity and top female leadership and talent as 43 percent of highly qualified women with children take a career detour. Eve Rodsky, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Hidden Cost of Women Doing It All," 7 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Motorists in both directions will be detoured around New Windsor’s downtown area and use Wakefield Valley Road to reach Md. 31. Carroll County Times Staff,, "Daytime closure for Md. 31 in New Windsor, Dec. 5-6, to repair water lines," 2 Dec. 2019 The trading-card-toting pets will be joined by a phalanx of volunteer ambassadors armed with small white maps that illustrate how passengers can detour around construction in the middle of the Jeppesen. Washington Post, "Troubled renovation of Denver International Airport offers lessons for others," 20 Nov. 2019 That’s either a bypass — open-heart surgery to detour around blockages — or angioplasty, in which doctors push a tube through an artery to the clog, inflate a tiny balloon and place a stent, or mesh scaffold, to prop the artery open., "The results challenge medical dogma and call into question some of the most common practices in heart care. They are the strongest evidence yet that tens of thousands of costly stent procedures and bypass operations each year are unnecessary or premature for people with stable disease.," 17 Nov. 2019 That's either a bypass — open-heart surgery to detour around blockages — or angioplasty, in which doctors push a tube through an artery to the clog, inflate a tiny balloon and place a stent, or mesh scaffold, to prop the artery open. Marilynn Marchione, Anchorage Daily News, "Big study casts doubt on need for many heart procedures," 16 Nov. 2019 Trail users will be detoured to Cornell Avenue by using pedestrian connections at East 67th Street and at 6535 Cornell Avenue. Kellie Hwang, Indianapolis Star, "Detour ahead: Section of Monon Trail in Broad Ripple will close for a few days," 22 Oct. 2019 But, just as overweight truckers know how to detour around weighing stations, so people driving hogs to an Ohio river town knew how to skirt the pikes across the road at which tolls had to be paid. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Highway 91 revisited reflects our history," 29 Sep. 2019 Fifty Years Ago Flames shot from the La Cañada Craft & Hobby Center at 1033 Foothill Blvd. on a late September day in 1969, forcing traffic along the main thoroughfare to be detoured around that section of the town’s central business district. Carol Cormaci, La Cañada Valley Sun, "La Cañada History: Lena Ahn, a La Cañada High student, wins 2009 HiTeen pageant," 23 Sep. 2019 The campaign offered penny Whoppers for app users near a McDonald's restaurant and then detoured them to a Burger King. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Traveling for Christmas? Burger King offers free Impossible Whoppers for delayed flights," 18 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for detour

Time Traveler

The first known use of detour was in 1738

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Statistics for detour

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Detour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detour

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detour

Spanish Central: Translation of detour

Nglish: Translation of detour for Spanish Speakers

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