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

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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

Synonyms for digression


aside, divagation, excursion, tangent

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Examples of digression in a Sentence

the professor's frequent and extended digressions are the stuff of campus legend

Recent Examples on the Web

But as Gadsby develops her digressions, and bores laserlike along her tangents, a large and extraordinarily intricate design begins to reveal itself. James Parker, The Atlantic, "Hannah Gadsby’s Genius Follow-Up to Nanette," 25 June 2019 Each chapter moves the central story forward but is also a digression. Rumaan Alam, Washington Post, "‘Very Nice’ is a good book to pack for your vacation. But maybe it’s more than that.," 25 June 2019 Each chapter moves the central story forward but is also a digression. Rumaan Alam, Dallas News, "'Very Nice,' indeed: Marcy Dermansky's fourth novel is a great summer read," 25 June 2019 Talking with Vicedomini about food means frequent digressions into his favorite fast food chains (Taco Bell, obviously) or vegan tacos (Mis Tacones, a weekend-only cart found at the Food Fight! vegan grocery store, 11155 N.E. Halsey St.). Michael Russell, oregonlive.com, "Portland’s 2019 Cart of the Year: Matt’s BBQ Tacos," 19 June 2019 Ultimately this feels forced—particularly the long digressions about Lincoln’s sons Willie and Tad and the former’s untimely death. Peter Cozzens, WSJ, "‘A Fierce Glory’ Review: Victory at a Very High Price," 21 Sep. 2018 The essay, which takes extended digressions to discuss the work of Paul Celan and Knut Hamsun, the paintings of Claude Lorrain and J.M.W. Turner, and much else, is rigorous, stimulating, and entirely untrustworthy. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: The End of a Monstrous Struggle," 13 Sep. 2018 Too often the narrative thread gets lost in a flurry of bulleted lists and theoretical digressions. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "‘Unelected Power’ Review: Monetary Mavericks," 27 June 2018 And this might be tiresome if the digressions weren’t so good, so fully realized and meticulously, skillfully rendered. New York Times, "This Novel Opens With a Suicide and a Suitcase of Cash. Then Things Get Really Interesting.," 21 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of digression

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for digression

see digress

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Learn More about digression

Dictionary Entries near digression







dig up

Statistics for digression

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for digression

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on digression

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with digression

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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