de·​tail | \ di-ˈtāl How to pronounce detail (audio) , ˈdē-ˌtāl How to pronounce detail (audio) \

Definition of detail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extended treatment of or attention to particular items explaining without going into detail giving careful attention to detail
2 : a part of a whole: such as
a : a small and subordinate part : particular planned the wedding down to the smallest detail also : a reproduction of such a part of a work of art
b : a part considered or requiring to be considered separately from the whole discussing the details of the building's columns
c : the small elements that collectively constitute a work of art admire the great detail of his work
d photography : the small elements of an image corresponding to those of the subject strong lighting to achieve clarity of detail
3a : selection of a person or group for a particular task (as in military service)
b(1) : the person or group selected a member of a security detail police details at the parade
(2) : the task to be performed were assigned to kitchen detail
in detail
: with all the particulars explained the job in detail


detailed; detailing; details

Definition of detail (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to report minutely and distinctly : to report with close attention to small elements : specify detailed their grievances wrote a letter detailing her vacation
2 : to assign to a particular task was detailed to another unit during maneuvers
3 : to furnish with the smaller elements of design and finish trimmings that detail slips and petticoats
4 : to clean and refurbish (a vehicle) very thoroughly and meticulously detail a car

intransitive verb

: to make detail drawings

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Other Words from detail


detailer noun

Synonyms for detail

Synonyms: Noun

item, particular, point

Synonyms: Verb

post, station

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Choose the Right Synonym for detail


item, detail, particular mean one of the distinct parts of a whole. item applies to each thing specified separately in a list or in a group of things that might be listed or enumerated. every item on the list detail applies to one of the small component parts of a larger whole such as a task, building, painting, narration, or process. leave the details to others particular stresses the smallness, singleness, and especially the concreteness of a detail or item. a description that included few particulars

Examples of detail in a Sentence


Every detail of the wedding was carefully planned. They designed every detail of the house. the wooden box's fine carved detail We admired the detail of the artist's work. The job requires attention to detail. The article provides further details. You left out an important detail about their new baby: is it a girl or boy? The novel is full of historical details. The book includes a wealth of detail on living conditions aboard ships at that time. The novel is full of historical detail.


The book details the series of events that led to the tragedy. She wrote a letter detailing her complaints. The Army has detailed him to investigate the complaints.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Little detail is provided about the boy’s early life, aside from vague references to how his new guardians helped him deal with childhood trauma. David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Flawed Thriller About the Myth of the ‘Model Immigrant’," 5 Aug. 2019 Each family member may have to do a little bit of work to sort through the details and determine just which plan might make the most sense for them. Editors, USA TODAY, "Trump on shootings, new Verizon plans and extreme heat: 5 things you need to know Monday," 5 Aug. 2019 But now the two sides hope to work out the details for a ceremony to sign the new constitutional declaration. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things to know for August 5: US mass shootings, Hong Kong protests, Iran, Sudan," 5 Aug. 2019 The education aspect should bombard students with details about the terrifying risks of nicotine addiction as well as resources on combating it on an individual level. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Campbell high schools not doing enough about vaping," 4 Aug. 2019 Ebrard offered no additional details in the short video. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Mexican government says it will sue U.S. over mass shooting in El Paso," 4 Aug. 2019 Full obituary and memorial details at, "James McEnteer," 4 Aug. 2019 His Social Security number and other sensitive details were looted in the monstrous Equifax data breach of 2017. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "After Capital One, Equifax, Marriott, and the Rest, Just Assume Your Data Has Been Hacked—Cyber Saturday," 3 Aug. 2019 As of Saturday afternoon, details were still emerging about the incident, which began just after 10am local time. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, "A gunman has killed numerous people in an El Paso, Texas shopping center," 3 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The case study details the story of a 48-year-old patient who sought help from a dermatologist after noticing lesions on his hands. Maggie O'neill,, "The Large, Painful Sores on This Man's Hands Were Caused By An Extremely Rare Inflammatory Disease," 31 July 2019 As detailed at the time by New York’s Ed Kilgore, the event featured a roster of speakers making up a Who’s Who of Christian nationalism, including the extremist evangelical pastor and alternative-history writer David Barton. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "Is Josh Hawley For Real?," 25 July 2019 These findings, newly detailed in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, suggest that unhatched embryos are not only highly attuned to danger, but also capable of sharing this information with nestmates. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Unhatched Bird Embryos Communicate With Siblings by Vibrating Their Shells," 23 July 2019 The data from his 2016 election have been scrutinised, and the resulting analyses, detailed in books and papers, are in agreement. The Economist, "The 2020 campaign will be more racially divisive than 2016 was," 18 July 2019 The pharmacy board detailed two violations in a letter sent to the company in June and obtained by The Enquirer through a public records request. Jackie Borchardt,, "Ownership questions prompt investigations into two Ohio medical marijuana companies," 10 July 2019 As detailed in a recent feature story from ESPN, Brian has spent most of his adult life in prison. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "The heartbreaking story behind Megan Rapinoe's birthday shoutout to Brian," 7 July 2019 The company will detail the impact during second-quarter results announcement. Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star, "Indy spent $30M to keep Corteva’s 1,000-plus jobs, but company cagey about the future," 7 July 2019 An article by Anjali Chanda in The Times of India in 1971 detailed how these goods were brought in: dhows, or traditional Arab sail boats, would moor off the coast and wait for Indian merchant crafts. Abeer Kapoor, Quartz India, "The fascinating story of an American smuggler’s daring escapades in 1960s India," 19 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detail.' 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 detail


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for detail

Noun and Verb

French détail, from Old French detail slice, piece, from detaillier to cut in pieces, from de- + taillier to cut — more at tailor

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More Definitions for detail



English Language Learners Definition of detail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small part of something
: the small parts of something
: a particular fact or piece of information about something or someone



English Language Learners Definition of detail (Entry 2 of 2)

: to state particular facts or information about (something) : to describe or discuss the details of (something)
US : to thoroughly clean (a car) in an attempt to make it look new
formal : to choose (a person or group of people) to do a special job


de·​tail | \ di-ˈtāl How to pronounce detail (audio) , ˈdē-ˌtāl\

Kids Definition of detail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dealing with something with attention to each item The news story went into detail.
2 : a small part of something larger : item Every detail of the wedding was perfect.
3 : a soldier or group of soldiers picked for special duty


detailed; detailing

Kids Definition of detail (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to report with attention to each item The book detailed the events.
2 : to select for some special duty

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More from Merriam-Webster on detail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detail

Spanish Central: Translation of detail

Nglish: Translation of detail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on detail

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


a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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