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

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 Message boards will be up along the path of the detour. Dennis Pillion,, "ALDOT to close 59/20 ramp at I-65 tonight, Thursday," 23 Apr. 2018 But at the larva stage, blister beetles take a slight detour that brings them in contact with a particular species of bees. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "How Horror Beetles Hitchhike on Bees And Then Eat Their Young," 12 Sep. 2018 Westbound drivers are told to take that same detour in the opposite directions. Craig Sailor, The Seattle Times, "State closes sinking Pierce County bridge that’s too costly to repair," 3 Sep. 2018 Volkswagen AG , Europe’s biggest auto maker, experienced sharp sales declines in November in Europe, China and the U.S., but company executives remain optimistic that was a temporary detour from continued growth. Paul Hannon, WSJ, "Germany Shows Symptoms of Deeper Economic Pain," 8 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 De Guzman encouraged Dela Paz to detour even farther from his Napa ramen plans and start a Filipino pop-up instead. Jonathan Kauffman,, "Likha brings Michelin pedigrees to Filipino bar food," 5 July 2018 Maybe the caravan is detouring through Syria and picking up terrorists. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “There’s No Proof of Anything”," 28 Oct. 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

4 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

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a tendency to relapse

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