side·​track | \ ˈsīd-ˌtrak How to pronounce sidetrack (audio) \

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 One of those sidetracks runs behind the International Trade Center and past the city’s public waterfront facilities Any freight rail train holding on this track blocks all freight railroad services into the main port complex. John Sharp |, al, "Amtrak return to Mobile rides on key New Year’s Eve vote," 17 Dec. 2019 The construction of a train station at Brookley would also require an additional $2.5 million to finance the construction of a sidetrack that would connect the main line to it. al, "‘Unanswered questions’ linger over Mobile’s Amtrak commitment," 20 Dec. 2019 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 Another coronavirus spike between now and the end of July could sidetrack the entire endeavor. Jeff Mcdonald,, "As Spurs’ facility reopens, a new normal begins," 8 June 2020 Research shows that students run out of money or experience personal problems that sidetrack or slow them down. Jon Marcus, Wired, "More Students Are ‘Stacking’ Credentials en Route to a Degree," 2 June 2020 But while few of us condone theft or arson or violence, don’t get sidetracked by opportunists and fools. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Murky edges of Detroit protests are tearing us apart | Opinion," 3 June 2020 But its continued progress toward becoming a law got sidetracked by the coronavirus pandemic. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Walt Harris apologizes to Homewood after UFC loss," 17 May 2020 The Mitquq well and sidetrack well located just east of the Pikka Unit hit a net pay zone of 172 feet and consistently flowed 1,730 barrels per day during a flow test. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Oil Search hits target in two North Slope wells but slows Nanushuk development," 1 May 2020 Salazar goes free The Indians have given up on former All-Star Danny Salazar, whose career has been sidetracked by injuries., "The Hall of Fame will not reveal the members of the committee until early next month.," 5 Nov. 2019 The shipment that got sidetracked at the Cincinnati airport was worth several thousand yuan, which is a lot of greenbacks. Colin Moore, Outdoor Life, "These 8 Aquatic Invasive Species are Threatening Fisheries Across the U.S.," 7 Feb. 2020 What Klobuchar was alluding to was the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump, which sidetracked her and three 2020 rivals -- Sens. Fox News, "Klobuchar says she's moving on to New Hampshire 'no matter what'," 4 Feb. 2020

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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The first known use of sidetrack was in 1828

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Cite this Entry

“Sidetrack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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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 How to pronounce sidetrack (audio) \
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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sidetrack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sidetrack

Spanish Central: Translation of sidetrack

Nglish: Translation of sidetrack for Spanish Speakers

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