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 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 For India, the case is an attempt by Pakistan to sidetrack global criticism of its failure to stop homegrown terrorism. Niha Masih, Washington Post, "Alleged Indian spy on death row in Pakistan wins reprieve from execution," 18 July 2019 Buchanan, the returning starter, and Heggie, who started seven games in 2017 before injuries sidetracked him, are the only Gators with any significant experience. Edgar Thompson,, "UF offense has talent, potential to be best Gators have fielded in years," 21 Aug. 2019 The fallout is tangible: The U.S. agency at the forefront of disaster response is sidetracked by small hazards, threatening its ability to handle the kind of megacalamities that have surged in the past decade. Thomas Frank, Scientific American, "Why the U.S. Disaster Agency Is Not Ready for Catastrophes," 20 Aug. 2019 Picked up the quest from Moira to check out the RobCo plant and got sidetracked with other dungeons on the way there. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s favorite video games from our first 10 years, 1998-2008," 20 Aug. 2019 They won’t be sidetracked by taking up a cause that has no bearing on crucial issues the country is facing right now. Dahleen Glanton,, "Column: Cory Booker is wrong. Joe Biden isn’t the enemy of black people. Donald Trump is.," 29 July 2019 The week’s issue involves a past project that got sidetracked., "Minerva’s horoscope for week of July 28," 28 July 2019 September or October might appear to be the time to put your ideas and plans into motion, but you can easily be sidetracked by wishful thinking and impractical ideas. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for June 4, 2019: Pisces, count your blessings; Cancer, mixed messages may confuse," 4 June 2019 His supporters said the move was an attempt to keep Navalny sidetracked as Putin’s approval ratings dropped. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Vladimir Putin's fiercest critic, Alexei Navalny, released from jail then immediately detained again," 25 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for sidetrack

The first known use of sidetrack was in 1828

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sidetrack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sidetrack

Spanish Central: Translation of sidetrack

Nglish: Translation of sidetrack for Spanish Speakers

Comments on sidetrack

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something of little or no value

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