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 digressdiverge 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
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.
Examples of digress in a Sentence
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 Greenberg, Harper's, May 2007Coleridge, 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 Wood, New Republic, 6 Sept. 1999He had not written too much per se; he had digressed intolerably given the significance of the events under consideration.— Alain de Botton, How Proust Can Change Your Life, 1997
He digressed so often that it was hard to follow what he was saying.
If I can digress for a moment, I'd like to briefly mention her earlier films.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'digress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.