de·tour | \ˈdē-ˌtu̇r 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



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

In the early 20th century, Michelin developed its guides to encourage touring motorists to potter along them, making the odd detour for a steak frites (and to wear out their tyres). The Economist, "Uproar over new speed limits on French country roads," 31 May 2018 The detour can be accessed from I-94 in Macomb County and I-75 in Oakland County, MDOT said. Hasan Dudar, Detroit Free Press, "Part of westbound I-696 in Oakland County closed this weekend," 17 May 2018 Even with all the fancy detours into Glenn Gould, William Blake, gothic cathedral architecture and dessert wine production, this is pretty much serial killer 101. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The House That Jack Built': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 15 May 2018 Several complained that Uber’s maps of Delhi failed to reflect the spontaneous detours that spring up on local roads. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "At Uber, a New C.E.O. Shifts Gears," 30 Mar. 2018 There were detours and big delays in place late Thursday morning in Deerfield Beach after a dump truck flipped onto its side on Powerline Road and Southwest 10th Street. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Flipped dump truck causing delays at busy intersection near the Sawgrass Expressway," 28 June 2018 Drivers should be aware of a detour for eastbound traffic going south on Ohio 732, east on Stillwell Road and north on Bunker Hill Woods Road to McCoy Road. Madeline Mitchell,, "Traffic alert: McCoy Road closes Thursday," 10 July 2018 The journey took weeks, with detours and sleepless nights. Camila Russo,, "These Are America’s White-Collar Dreamers," 9 July 2018 There were delays and detours at a busy intersection near the Sawgrass Expressway in Deerfield Beach because of a dump truck that was hauling landscaping debris that rolled over. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Flipped dump truck causing delays at busy intersection near the Sawgrass Expressway," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Northbound traffic wanting to go east will detour to Loop 610 eastbound, then continue to Interstate 10 westbound. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Interstate 10, Loop 610, Gulf Freeway closures mean travel could be difficult starting July 13," 13 July 2018 Eastbound traffic on Las Olas Boulevard will be detoured south on Seabreeze Boulevard then east on Southeast Fifth Street. Tonya Alanez,, "Two-block closure on Las Olas will clog beach traffic for months," 5 July 2018 The traffic was backed up to 32nd Street, and all westbound traffic was being detoured to Interstate 17 north. Kelsey Mo, azcentral, "I-10 westbound lanes closed at I-17 after rollover accident," 25 June 2018 Southeastbound rivers used to using Layhigh Road will be detoured southwest on Hamilton New London Road and east on Ohio 126 to Layhigh. Madeline Mitchell,, "Traffic alert: Dunwoody and Layhigh roads closing," 20 June 2018 Traffic is detoured via Hypoluxo Road, Military Trail, Congress Avenue or Lantana Road. Kari Barnett,, "Water utilities maintenance causes Hagen Ranch Road lane closure," 6 July 2018 During Phases 2 and 3, westbound Main Street traffic will be detoured onto Roosevelt Drive. 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 Southbound motorists will be detoured nearly 2 miles out of their way and through two cloverleaf turns before heading back under 495. Washington Post, "Major New York-area traffic bottleneck about to get worse," 23 June 2018 Traffic will be detoured at the junction of S.R.11/U.S. 129 and Tesnatee Valley Gap Road proceeding for approximately 3 miles to Sate Route 115/West Kytle Street. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Roy Head Bridge in White County closed," 12 June 2018

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

8 Oct 2018

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 \

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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Comments on detour

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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