verb di·gress \ dī-ˈgres , də- \
|Updated on: 16 Jun 2018

Definition of digress

: to turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument

Examples of digress in a Sentence

  1. The third visit, the first one after I started the drugs, is shorter, more perfunctory than the first two. Papakostas moves briskly from one question to the next and looks at his watch if we digress. —Gary GreenbergHarper'sMay 2007
  2. Coleridge, of course, who happily called himself a … lover of parentheses, does not bridle himself, but merely produces digressions about how he should not digress. —James WoodNew Republic6 Sept. 1999
  3. He had not written too much per se; he had digressed intolerably given the significance of the events under consideration. —Alain de BottonHow Proust Can Change Your Life1997
  4. He digressed so often that it was hard to follow what he was saying.

  5. If I can digress for a moment, I'd like to briefly mention her earlier films.

Recent Examples of digress from the Web

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But I Digress

The verb digress is often encountered in the phrase “but I digress.” This is an idiomatic expression that has been in use in English for many hundreds of years. Examples may be found as far back as 1653, when Edmund Hall used “but I digress” in his A Scriptural Discourse of the Apostasie and the Antichrist. The phrase is used, often jocularly, by speakers and writers to indicate that they have veered away from the subject that they had been speaking or writing of, and intend to return to it.

Origin and Etymology of digress

Latin digressus, past participle of digredi, from dis- + gradi to step — more at grade

Synonym Discussion of digress

swerve, veer, deviate, depart, digress, diverge mean to turn aside from a straight course. swerve may suggest a physical, mental, or moral turning away from a given course, often with abruptness.
    • swerved to avoid hitting the dog
veer implies a major change in direction.
    • at that point the path veers to the right
deviate implies a turning from a customary or prescribed course.
    • never deviated from her daily routine
depart suggests a deviation from a traditional or conventional course or type.
    • occasionally departs from his own guidelines
digress applies to a departing from the subject of one's discourse.
    • a professor prone to digress
diverge may equal depart but usually suggests a branching of a main path into two or more leading in different directions.
    • after school their paths diverged

DIGRESS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of digress for English Language Learners

  • : to speak or write about something that is different from the main subject being discussed

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widely and unfavorably known

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