di·​gres·​sion dī-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce digression (audio)
: 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
archaic : a going aside
dī-ˈgresh-nəl How to pronounce digression (audio)
digressionary adjective

Example Sentences

the professor's frequent and extended digressions are the stuff of campus legend
Recent Examples on the Web The plot is convoluted and (again a la Tarantino) dotted with flashbacks and digressions laced with references likely to be lost on anyone who hasn’t studied the past two centuries of Eastern European politics. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2023 That said, the show’s surreal digressions and detours into fantasy become more distracting, in a way that feels a little too precious at times. Brian Lowry, CNN, 14 Apr. 2023 Its structure is too often sloppy, with uneasy transitions from biography to personal digression; its tone is occasionally treacly; its treatment of Converse is hagiographic. Jeremy Lybarger, The New Republic, 24 Apr. 2023 In that sense, this column is a digression. New York Times, 22 July 2022 This digression, which plays with identity, is the show’s most radical conception, a sort of infinite regression, as Fielder, creating simulacrum upon simulacrum, becomes his own subject and takes over the role and briefly the life of one of his students. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 14 July 2022 In an unusually personal digression, Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar who's known for deep analysis of national politics, talked movingly about her relationship with Mikula, as a way of explaining to viewers the deep fear of losing a loved one. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, 20 Nov. 2020 Sanderson’s closing defense had quite a few digressions. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Mar. 2023 But Howie’s solitary digressions, unlike those of Castro’s protagonist, don’t snare him in an agonizing spiral of self-consciousness. Nathan Goldman, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'digression.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see digress

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near digression

Cite this Entry

“Digression.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/digression. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on digression

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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