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

Highway construction zones will feature the same shifting lanes, uneven pavement, overnight lane closures, entrance/exit ramp closures, detours and heavy traffic during the day. Brooke Baitinger,, "It looks like the I-95 express lanes are ready to open. They’re not.," 19 Aug. 2019 Expect delays and detours in the work zone and follow all signs and flagger instructions. Washington County is replacing a culvert on Wren Road, between Northwest Leisy and Glencoe roads., "Portland Wednesday traffic: Glenn Jackson Bridge/I-205 closes overnight for sign bridge installation," 14 Aug. 2019 Motorists traveling on Interstate 35 near U.S. Highway 8 in Forest Lake next week could encounter overnight closures and detours, weather permitting. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, "Overnight closures on I-35 in Forest Lake slated for next week," 13 June 2019 Out of East Ridge High School — with a quick detour to Allen, Texas — Green came to Minnesota as a quarterback recruit. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers football’s ‘Green Line’ doesn’t follow the straight and narrow," 7 Aug. 2019 From the backseat of the SUV, Keys instructs the driver to make a quick detour. Carine Roitfeld, Harper's BAZAAR, "#BAZAARICONS: Alicia Keys Is on a High Note," 1 Aug. 2019 This detour is expected to be in place for two to three weeks., "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 29 July 2019 Every road trip from Hanna Osteen’s Arlington home to Austin involves a slight detour to the Czech Stop off Interstate 35 in West, Texas. Dallas News, "Is Texas the only state with kolaches, or do other states also have them? Curious Texas investigates," 25 July 2019 In February 1945 Franklin Roosevelt, on his way home from the Yalta Conference—and just two months before his death—made a detour to Egypt to meet Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman al Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi state. Daniel Benjamin, The New York Review of Books, "Reckless in Riyadh," 30 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The on-ramp will be closed on the above dates from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Northbound traffic on I-225 heading to westbound I-70 will be detoured onto the eastbound ramp. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Overnight closures for I-225 on-ramp in Aurora begin next week," 28 Aug. 2019 Traffic detoured onto Barbour, back on at Capital Hwy., "Portland Thursday traffic: Left lane reopens at fatal truck crash site on I-5 north at Barbur exit," 22 Aug. 2019 As part of a project to widen the outer loop of the beltway, part of Edmondson Avenue in Catonsville will close this weekend and traffic will be detoured. Cody Boteler,, "Edmondson Avenue to close at I-695 bridge in Catonsville this weekend," 22 Aug. 2019 Their paths showed the general westward trend, but with loops and detours into Mobile Bay and Lake Ponchartrain. al, "Hollie’s tarpon: Fish caught by Alabama woman going far," 2 Aug. 2019 According to the department, westbound I-94 traffic will not be detoured, but only one lane will remain open throughout the weekend. Andrea Perez Balderrama, Detroit Free Press, "Construction to shut freeway, roads, ramps across metro Detroit this weekend," 31 July 2019 Trump's recitation of highlights from American history in his Fourth of July speech detoured into a mashup of war and centuries. Calvin Woodward,, "George Washington’s forces seized the airports? Trump blames July 4 speech history flub on busted teleprompter.," 5 July 2019 Eastbound Edmonson Avenue traffic will be detoured using Delrey Avenue, Frederick Road, I-695 and back to Edmondson Avenue. Cody Boteler,, "Edmondson Avenue to close at I-695 bridge in Catonsville this weekend," 22 Aug. 2019 Motorists should remember that eastbound traffic on Mastick is being detoured along Brookpark Road from Clague Road in North Olmsted to West 220th Street in Fairview Park. Carol Kovach,, "Romanian Festival 2019 set for Aug. 16-18 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in West Park: A Place in the Sun," 12 Aug. 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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Statistics for detour

Last Updated

27 Aug 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

Comments on detour

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recurring in steady succession

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