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


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Multiple traffic detours clogged downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor Tuesday as city crews continued work to correct a water main break. Lillian Reed,, "Water main break repairs continue Tuesday, detouring traffic in downtown Baltimore," 9 July 2019 Software turns selected LEDs on or off, keeping light out of oncoming drivers’ eyes and illuminating signs, pedestrians, detours, etc. Mark Phelan, USA TODAY, "Brighter, safer headlights are coming. The question is when.," 18 June 2019 Software turns selected LEDs on or off, keeping light out of oncoming drivers’ eyes and illuminating signs, pedestrians, detours, etc. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Brighter, no glare headlights are coming. Here's what we know," 15 June 2019 More and better fish ladders, detours that allow fish to pass safely through the dams in ascending pools, were built. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 In his detour as a media commentator, Griffin seemed to really admire Ingram’s game among the other young Lakers. Kyle Goon, Orange County Register, "Purple & Bold: Anthony Davis rumors are circling again. Here’s what’s changed.," 6 June 2019 His detour included long bus rides and connecting flights to Boise and Bismarck. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The Raptors Traded for One Most Valuable Player and Got Two," 2 Jan. 2019 Many of the 20 candidates in Miami for the debates took the detour to Homestead, 40 minutes south, to weigh in on the encampment and the policies behind it. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "At Florida detention site for migrant teens, Beto O’Rourke slams Trump, parries Julian Castro’s jabs," 27 June 2019 The Elm Street detour will be utilized through those 56 days. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "DOT changes dates of Rocky Hill, I-91 summer road closures," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Buses will run on a Saturday schedule and will be detoured around the Mall, Metro said. Katherine Shaver, Washington Post, "Metro announces preliminary July Fourth service plans," 26 June 2019 Southbound traffic is detoured west at Ellis, south at 15th and east on Ramona to return to Milwaukie., "Portland metro Wednesday traffic: Summer harvest means more agricultural vehicles on the road; use caution," 19 June 2019 Walkers and bicyclists will be detoured to Fourth Street to cross the interstate. Jasmine Johnson, Twin Cities, "I-35W in Minneapolis will close for weekend; I-35 closings starts Tuesday in Forest Lake," 17 June 2019 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

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

Dictionary Entries near detour








Statistics for detour

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detour

The first known use of detour was in 1738

See more words from the same year

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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