di·​gres·​sion | \ dī-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce digression (audio) , də- \

Definition of digression

1 : the act or an instance of leaving the main subject in an extended written or verbal expression of thought : the act or an instance of digressing in a discourse or other usually organized literary work Every place Hamilton, his parents, or his wife visited over a century's time is described at length; everyone he met merits at least a minor biographical digression.— Willard Sterne Randall
2 archaic : a going aside

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from digression

digressional \ dī-​ˈgresh-​nəl How to pronounce digressional (audio) , də-​ , -​ə-​nᵊl \ adjective
digressionary \ dī-​ˈgre-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce digressionary (audio) , də-​ \ adjective

Examples of digression in a Sentence

the professor's frequent and extended digressions are the stuff of campus legend
Recent Examples on the Web There are these fascinating digressions into the way the CIA has attempted to influence people through culture and about the organization itself. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Did the CIA write the Scorpions' hit 'Wind of Change'? A new podcast investigates," 15 May 2020 More than a quarter of its pages are essays on French history, morality and other digressions. Brandon Griggs, CNN, "15 epic books you may finally have time to read now," 10 May 2020 And that was all before his digression into the potential healing powers of disinfectants. Jonathan Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "Nervous Republicans see Trump sinking, and taking Senate with him," 25 Apr. 2020 These digressions are absorbing but all too brief, as Bascomb hurries to the next starting line. Nick Donofrio, New York Times, "The Jewish Race-Car Driver Who Outpaced the Nazis," 17 Mar. 2020 The powerful aspects of the content are thus offset by detours and digressions that could have been excised. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez' examines how the system failed a murdered boy," 26 Feb. 2020 The topics in this letter to Lowell that might seem like a distraction, digression, or even an escape from the literary, show her discovering its materials in ordinary life. Langdon Hammer, The New York Review of Books, "Letters: Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘Art Form or Something’," 25 Feb. 2020 Early on, there is a shooting, but who has been shot - and how and why and by whom - only gets revealed over the course of the film's mostly entertaining digressions. Michael O'sullivan, Houston Chronicle, "Guy Ritchie returns to his raunchy roots in ‘The Gentlemen’," 22 Jan. 2020 If one cut the speculation and digressions, that could probably be reduced to about 150 pages. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "He burned Frank Lloyd Wright’s house and killed his mistress — but why?," 22 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'digression.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of digression

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for digression

see digress

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about digression

Time Traveler for digression

Time Traveler

The first known use of digression was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for digression

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Digression.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/digression. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on digression

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for digression

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with digression

Spanish Central: Translation of digression

Nglish: Translation of digression for Spanish Speakers

Comments on digression

What made you want to look up digression? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!