Definition of sidetrack in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsīdtrak/


[with object] (usually be/get sidetracked)
1Cause (someone) to be distracted from an immediate or important issue: he does not let himself get sidetracked by fads and trends
More example sentences
  • I get sidetracked by minor distractions all the time (which is often fun), but if I really want something, I'll keep the goal in sight and eventually get there.
  • Then, once you really believe in something, the key is to keep your head down and go for it, spurning any attempt to sidetrack you on the way.
  • The body of the text, arranged in three segments, provides links in the sidebar that may sidetrack the reader through related concepts in other segments.
1.1Divert (a project or debate) away from a central issue or previously determined plan: the effort at reform has been sidetracked for years
More example sentences
  • If I respond you have succeeded in sidetracking the debate.
  • Let's not get distracted by futile debates or sidetracked by issues that have been going on for centuries!
  • The immediate impact of his intervention was to sidetrack preventative campaigns.
2chiefly North American Direct (a train) onto a branch line or siding.
Example sentences
  • Had it possibly been sidetracked for some reason in order to allow the slower train to go past?
  • Some railroads agreed to carry vagabonds free: most rail managers resisted, using force to expel tramps from trains and sometimes sidetracking trains carrying large numbers of them to remote areas.
  • It pulled out of here at 4:20, right on time, and made a quick run down across the meadows, intending to sidetrack at West Canaan for both passenger trains.
2.1Divert (a well or borehole) to reach a productive deposit or to avoid an obstruction.
Example sentences
  • More work needs to be done to prove the commercial significance of the find, with the project's partners to spend an additional $3 million on sidetracking the well.
  • These rigs are used to perform a variety of completion, workover and maintenance services, such as installations, completions, assisting with perforating, removing defective equipment and sidetracking wells.
  • We also install whipstocks to sidetrack wells, provide plugging and abandonment services, pipe recovery and wireline recovery services, foam services and casing patch installation.


1A minor path or track.
Example sentences
  • I've had to learn to see double, keeping the big ball rolling while juggling a full complement of sidetracks and minor emergencies.
  • By the time Grandpa finishes his story, he's wandered down sidetracks, lost a few of the kids to sleep and even managed to lose his own place more than once.
  • As a sidetrack, I might mention that my post of two days ago was my thousandth… yep, this one will be number 1003.
1.1chiefly North American A railroad branch line or siding.
Example sentences
  • The conductor told us to lock the cabins and not let anyone inside unless he told us to because thieves pretending to be police quite often preyed on the sleeping cars parked in the sidetracks.
  • One of the major disadvantages of rail transport is that a fast train cannot run on the same line as a suburban, stopping slow train without sidetracks and expensive signalling.
  • Between this building and the main track, over which passenger trains usually run, is a side track connecting with the main track east, but not west.
1.2A well or borehole that runs partly to one side of the original line of drilling.
Example sentences
  • If a sidetrack is made to bypass an obstruction while the surface and target locations remain the same this is called a mechanical sidetrack.
  • An existing well, drilled with a section through a tight sand interval was judged unlikely to fully drain the panel, so a sidetrack with an openhole drain length of 1,000 m was drilled from the 7-in. liner using an intermediate radius curve
  • The drilling of a well after a slot reclamation (which previously had a well) is considered a sidetrack.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: side·track

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