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 In fact, during the New Hampshire trip, Buttigieg made a detour without the media entourage to a fundraiser in Providence, Rhode Island. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, "'Radical access': Inside Pete Buttigieg's New Hampshire bus tour," 12 Nov. 2019 The latter takes the former on a whirlwind, glamorous tour of New York City that also includes a rather climactic detour to the Thanksgiving table of an estranged family member. Vogue, "The 15 Best Thanksgiving Movies You Totally Forgot Were Set on the Holiday," 22 Oct. 2019 Originally from the United Kingdom, the two couples and their three young children were driving near the U.S.-Canada border on Oct. 3 during a visit to Vancouver when an animal ventured into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour. oregonlive, "A British family on vacation accidentally drove into the U.S. They’ve spent days detained with their 3-month-old baby.," 15 Oct. 2019 With the roadway restricted, trucks greater than 26,000 pounds will need to make a 0.67-mile detour, according to Brown. Mary Grace Keller,, "'Trucks are a hazard’: Carroll commissioners restrict traffic on Keymar road after residents complain," 5 Oct. 2019 Back in July, before finishing his quest, Vescovo also made a detour to visit the wreck of the Titanic, which his team found to be rapidly deteriorating. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "American Becomes First to Visit the Five Deepest Spots in World’s Oceans," 10 Sep. 2019 After a return to Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and a recent detour to HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Parenthood actress Lauren Graham is back at NBC starring in the musical dramedy Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Marcus Jones,, "Lauren Graham returning to NBC with Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," 27 Aug. 2019 Earlier this month, Trump also inserted a three-day detour to his golf club in Ireland between official trips to the United Kingdom and France - taking Trump and his aides hundreds of miles out of the way. Anchorage Daily News, "Money follows Trump when he visits his clubs, as Republicans and officials pay to be with him," 21 June 2019 The book offers practical advice on thriving and making the most of detours that at first seem like disasters. Carole Goldberg,, "Write Stuff: The sex lives of ‘Three Women’, ‘Opinionated Women’ and Edith Wharton," 11 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Commuters were detoured from Davie Boulevard’s access ramps to I-95 for more than five hours. Lisa J. Huriash,, "One killed, two seriously hurt in crash on Davie Boulevard overpass to I-95," 22 Nov. 2019 Through traffic is being detoured around Arkansas 365 South. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "PHOTO: Part of state highway in Pulaski County caves in, officials say," 22 Nov. 2019 There isn’t much Gen X toughness on display here, and Daum’s detours into bildungsroman don’t enhance her critique of the modern left. Rosa Brooks, Washington Post, "Meghan Daum’s merciless take on modern feminism, woke-ness and cancel culture," 24 Oct. 2019 Westbound lanes are detoured south on Spur 330 to SH146 southbound and then to SH 225 westbound. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Interstate 10 reopens between Beaumont and Winnie after floods," 22 Sep. 2019 Northeast Kane Drive is closed from Southeast Division Street to 17th Avenue, and several TriMet bus lines are detoured. oregonlive, "Portland metro Thursday traffic: Crash into power pole closes Kane Drive in Gresham," 5 Sep. 2019 Traffic will be detoured along Main Street, Naubuc Avenue and Main Street during certain periods. Peter Marteka,, "Glastonbury planning to repave and make crosswalk improvements along Glastonbury Boulevard starting this fall," 29 July 2019 Westbound traffic is being detoured onto Interstate 225. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Denver police motorcycle officer injured in crash on I-70 near Havana Street, westbound lanes closed," 27 Aug. 2019 Patches of snow are frequent, with the longest snowfield about 200 feet, with snowdrifts in spots as high as 5 feet, that hikers are detouring around. Tom Stienstra,, "Yosemite’s high country finally opens to camping, hiking," 17 July 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

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Detour.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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

Comments on detour

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very cautious or careful

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