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

Examples of digression in a Sentence

the professor's frequent and extended digressions are the stuff of campus legend
Recent Examples on the Web What seems to be a fanciful digression is really Fantasmas in miniature: an oddball hero’s journey that illustrates the cultural value of the brilliant bohemian. Judy Berman, TIME, 7 June 2024 There were digressions into history, comparative government, union organizing, car safety, Robert McNamara, the strength of triangles, the cryogenic preservation of corpses. Joseph Bernstein Robert Petkoff Krish Seenivasan Devin Murphy, New York Times, 3 June 2024 Which in turn makes the picture’s overt philosophical digressions, in the form of Gary’s lectures to his classes, equally easygoing and lively. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 24 May 2024 One of Joe Biden’s notable digressions when getting deposed by Special Counsel Robert Hur was about driving his beloved 1967 Corvette Stingray convertible. Rich Lowry, National Review, 26 Mar. 2024 Streisand speaks in a conversational tone full of digressions – most appear in print, but some were ad-libbed for the audiobook. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Dec. 2023 The exchange was Kafkaesque in its mazy rate of progress, technical complexity, and disorienting tendency toward digression. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 14 Feb. 2024 Hammett fans have long puzzled over this enigmatic digression. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 25 Dec. 2023 For those unaccustomed to Hill’s latest style, her musical digressions often sound dissonant. Salamishah Tillet, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2023

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 13 Jun. 2024.

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