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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In July and August, Walsh went hitless in 13 at-bats in two stints in the majors, with a detour to the Angels’ alternate training site in Long Beach. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Jared Walsh poised to supplant Albert Pujols at first base for the Angels," 21 Feb. 2021 After a World War II detour into the Merchant Marine, Brent enrolled at Yale, joined the debate team, became best friends with William F. Buckley, converted to Catholicism, and collected bachelor’s and law degrees. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, "The Rise and Fall of the L. Brent Bozells," 19 Feb. 2021 After coaching the Bruins for five mostly mediocre seasons and getting fired in 2007, Dorrell bounced around several NFL staffs with a one-season detour to Vanderbilt as an assistant. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Penn State suddenly finds itself with little to play for in pandemic year," 8 Nov. 2020 Signs will direct drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists on detour routes. oregonlive, "Portland Tuesday traffic: Landslide closes lanes on U.S. 30 near Astoria," 5 Jan. 2021 We’ve been communicating with trucking companies and the general public about those detour routes. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "'Total chaos': Closure of Brent Spence Bridge hurts Kentucky businesses," 13 Nov. 2020 Significant delays are expected along the detour route and city officials are asking drivers to seek alternate routes. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, "Roadwork update: Expect delays on I-30 in Grand Prairie starting Friday," 3 Nov. 2020 Needless to say, the point of Ciorniciuc’s immersive, lively, warm and heartbreaking film is not to see the Enaches in the park as total paradise and their stab at urban living as some terrible detour into restrictiveness. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Acasa, My Home’ movingly explores the tug of war between nature and civilization," 14 Jan. 2021 The detour will route southbound traffic from Scranton to West 14th via Fairfield Avenue near the I-90 interchange for Abbey Road and West 14th. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Bridge project on Cleveland’s West Side over I-90 to limit traffic over for 14 months," 4 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb TriMet bus lines 12, 19 and 20 will detour to the Steel Bridge. The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Portland’s Burnside Bridge closed for lift span work," 30 Jan. 2021 Metro plans to detour 26 bus routes around the Capitol’s expanded security perimeter beginning Friday through Jan. 21. Washington Post, "Metro to close 13 stations for a week amid threats of inauguration violence," 13 Jan. 2021 Those who wish to detour around the slide will need to use State Route 4 in Washington or Oregon highway 202 through Olney to Jewel. oregonlive, "Portland Tuesday traffic: Landslide closes lanes on U.S. 30 near Astoria," 5 Jan. 2021 Traffic will detour to East Fourth Street and use the Cumberland Street on-ramp to access eastbound I-30, the department said. Noel Oman, Arkansas Online, "I-30 work requires Little Rock ramp closure Monday night," 14 Dec. 2020 TriMet bus routes that normally use the Hawthorne Bridge will detour to the Morrison Bridge. oregonlive, "Portland metro Friday traffic: Hawthorne Bridge closed Sunday for maintenance," 30 Oct. 2020 Traffic will detour to Kumpuris Street, President Clinton Avenue and Sherman Street. Arkansas Online, "I-30 work in Little Rock to shut some lanes," 13 Dec. 2020 TriMet bus routes that normally use the Hawthorne Bridge will detour to the Morrison Bridge. oregonlive, "Portland metro Friday traffic: Hawthorne Bridge closed Sunday for maintenance," 30 Oct. 2020 And Fernandez said the department also reasonably concluded that most truckers would continue to use the straighter and quicker route of Interstate 5 to reach coastal cities and that relatively few would detour through Richardson Grove. Bob Egelko,, "Plans to widen Highway 101 advancing, despite complaints it will ‘suffocate’ redwoods," 3 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about detour

Statistics for detour

Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Detour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on detour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detour

Nglish: Translation of detour for Spanish Speakers

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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