Definition of detour in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdiːtʊə/


1A long or roundabout route that is taken to avoid something or to visit somewhere along the way: he had made a detour to a cafe
More example sentences
  • When we travel further along the road to Foca, and take a detour into the Treskavica mountains, it is easier to see what she means.
  • I was a bit tired at this point, so it was good to take a detour into Buckden and pause for cups of sweet tea, coffee cake and jam scone at the excellent West Winds Cottage Tea Room.
  • Many technical careers take a detour into management.
1.1An alternative route for use by traffic when the usual road is temporarily closed.
Example sentences
  • This is a view from the west towards the construction site of the new bridge across the Klein Windhoek river where traffic has to negotiate the detour and temporary road markings.
  • ‘With the opening of the grade separator, residents of east Bangalore and surrounding areas no longer have to put up with traffic detours and dusty roads,’ he said.
  • A closed road and a detour on the way, but I manage to find my way around that.
roundabout route, indirect route, circuitous route, scenic route, tourist route, diversion, bypass, ring road, alternative route, digression, deviation, byway, bypath;
British  relief road
British informal rat run


[no object, with adverbial of direction] chiefly North American
1Take a long or roundabout route: he detoured around the walls
More example sentences
  • Even Bryson himself is not immune; he detoured from his planned route to visit Bryson City, and found himself regretting he did not have a crowbar to remove a souvenir sign.
  • Jason detoured from his route to the bar and opened the door.
  • The crews detoured in a zigzag route through 19 cities before reaching Seattle.
1.1 [with object] Avoid by taking a detour: I would detour the endless stream of motor homes
More example sentences
  • It detours the usual ways that you think about exercise and tunes in to what you really need.
  • But that path detours the real problems of relationships today and their official recognition.
  • And when he looked up and out he was startled to see a people so numerous on the seashore that he thought for a moment they were nkrane, the black ants he had detoured a hundred strides before.


Mid 18th century (as a noun): from French détour 'change of direction', from détourner 'turn away'.

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