Share this entry

detour Syllabification: de·tour
Pronunciation: /ˈdēto͝or/

Definition of detour in English:


1A long or roundabout route 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.
diversion, circuitous route, indirect route, scenic route;
digression, deviation, shortcut


[no object] chiefly North American Back to top  
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 or bypass (something) by taking a roundabout route: 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'.

Definition of detour in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fôrˈtisəˌmō
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly