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

Other Words from detail


detailer noun

Synonyms for detail

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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

Noun 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. Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since the modern fireplace is the main architectural detail in the room, this urged Hammel to find other ways to pepper historic elements into the design scheme. Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 11 May 2022 The deeply tufted back pillows are another upscale detail. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2022 The balloon sleeves are another unexpected detail that will set your summer florals apart from the rest of the style crowd in the best way possible. Sarah Boyd, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 There is so much compelling detail in the story of how stewardesses became flight attendants, how the field was opened to men and equalized for all, that the timeline of these inflection points gets lost in the telling. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 That's just a little detail that gives you something to play with. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, 29 Apr. 2022 That's an important detail: the golf course, which opened in 2001 and was designed by Damian Pascuzzo, was there before the home. Adam Schupak, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2022 That was a detail with which Hassinger was reportedly not pleased. Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2022 Presley’s attachment to his mother, Gladys, was no small detail according to Southern historian William Ferris, producer of the Grammy-winning box set Voices of Mississippi. Jen Wang, Vogue, 21 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As China Tech Threat detailed, Congress instructed the BIS to identify and detail AI technology which should be export-controlled for military application, but the agency has not moved on this task in almost 4 years. Roslyn Layton, Forbes, 23 Apr. 2022 These intelligence updates, as they’re called, are just the tip of the intelligence iceberg and sometimes detail what’s available on other open-source outlets. Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2022 The release did not say what charges Merritt faces or detail the allegations against him. Matt Bruce, ajc, 8 Apr. 2022 Stickley will offer an inside look into various kinds of cyber attacks used by criminals and will detail how to reduce your risk. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Apr. 2022 Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise undercuts its own plot halfway through the book by letting a new lead character, Karen, detail all the invention and sanitization that the last narrator, Sarah, is guilty of, Sophie Gilbert writes. Emma Sarappo, The Atlantic, 1 Apr. 2022 Instead a general allergy to detail courses through every vein. Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2022 The official did not detail which weapons from the recent package landed in the region first. Eleanor Watson, CBS News, 18 Apr. 2022 Unfortunately, the report doesn’t detail the breakdown of efficiency cores versus performance cores in the M2 or M2 Max., or Bloomberg didn't report it. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 15 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near detail



detail drawing

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Statistics for detail

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Detail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for detail


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

More from Merriam-Webster on detail

Nglish: Translation of detail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detail for Arabic Speakers


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