side·track | \ˈsīd-ˌtrak \

Definition of sidetrack 

(Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a position or condition of secondary importance to which one may be diverted


sidetracked; sidetracking; sidetracks

Definition of sidetrack (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to shunt aside (as to a railroad siding)

2a : to turn aside from a purpose : deflect

b : to prevent action on by diversionary tactics sidetrack an issue

Examples of sidetrack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The sidetrack to that is that Inge is a German person. Chris Hewitt, Twin Cities, "‘Sweet Land’: an immigration-themed love story that had to be a musical," 4 May 2017 When the Aztecs were winning three straight tournament championships from 2013-15 they always were accompanied with twists and turns, sidetracks and setbacks. Kirk Kenney,, "Aztecs lose 12-1 to Fresno State, forcing winner-take-all game Sunday for MW title," 27 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even though Jones’ career got sidetracked slightly, her talent offered her redemption. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Forced to Perform As Aretha Franklin," 2 July 2018 Lewis’ knee issues have taken years off his career, sidetracked his path and lowered his prospect status. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Twitter mailbag: Will Felix Hernandez pitch in the postseason if the Mariners make it? Cano to first base? And Magnum P.I.?," 9 July 2018 The first day of the Senate’s debate on immigration was quickly sidetracked by midterm campaign politics and tactics that led to no progress on a range of pressing issues that have stymied Congress for months. Chuck Todd, NBC News, "The Rob Porter scandal has lasted for more than a week. Here’s why.," 14 Feb. 2018 Slugged 335 home runs in a career sidetracked by drug abuse. Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "Who's MLB's No. 1 top draft pick? Ranking the top 25 1/1s of all time," 3 June 2018 Opposition from Dynegy and other energy companies prompted the Trump administration last year to reconsider the safeguards; a separate proposal in Illinois also has been sidetracked. Michael Hawthorne,, "Lawsuit seeks crackdown on coal plant pollution in Illinois' only national scenic river," 30 May 2018 Hopefully, Trump doesn't get sidetracked by discussing his nascent best friendship with Kanye for more than, say, 45 minutes. Jay Willis, GQ, "Jared Kushner's Prison Reform Efforts Are a Sham," 30 May 2018 That germ of an idea was sidetracked as the filmmaker began asking Reynolds about his life and the discussions turned inward. Steve Appleford,, "Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds' talks about his documentary `Believer' about his Mormon upbringing," 23 June 2018 Injuries and team situation have sidetracked pro career to a degree. Jeremy Woo,, "2018 NBA Draft: Rodions Kurucs Scouting Report and Highlights," 17 June 2018

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


1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sidetrack

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Time Traveler for sidetrack

The first known use of sidetrack was in 1828

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More Definitions for sidetrack



English Language Learners Definition of sidetrack

: to cause (someone) to talk about or do something different and less important

: to change the direction or use of (something)

: to prevent (something) from being dealt with


side·track | \ˈsīd-ˌtrak \
sidetracked; sidetracking

Kids Definition of sidetrack

: to turn aside from a main purpose or direction Nick could launch a question guaranteed to sidetrack the teacher long enough to … wipe out the homework assignment.— Andrew Clements, Frindle

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Comments on sidetrack

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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