Definition of detail in English:



  • 1An individual fact or item.

    ‘we shall consider every detail of the Bill’
    [mass noun] ‘her meticulous attention to detail’
    • ‘The attention to detail is strengthened by the fact that most of your starting characters are key elements to the story.’
    • ‘You display great attention to detail which can be considered good fortune or a curse when it comes to relationships.’
    • ‘Well, the attention to detail is excellent, and as soon as we sat down small plates of ham and pungent Parmesan and some gloriously crisp olive oil appeared out of the ether.’
    • ‘But Mike said that was balanced by the extra detail about individual cities and predicted rainfall times.’
    • ‘This allows surgeons to see how they perform against their peers, but details of individual results are kept secret.’
    • ‘We've had some discussions, there's been a few minor details to resolve.’
    • ‘Further details on the individual ministries are available as follows.’
    • ‘More detail on the individual elements contained in these systems is provided below.’
    • ‘Attention to detail is one factor that has made his books so believable, and if you then add in an exciting plot you have a classic book of this genre.’
    • ‘In his call, the man described a conversation in a Totton pub between men discussing the attack and gave details of specific individuals.’
    • ‘Phase three was to begin in early 2002, but there were no specific details on that particular attack.’
    • ‘Class discussions focus on specific details, including individual words, even sounds.’
    • ‘But they will have to provide more specific details on key elements of his plans like what kind of materials will be used in the development.’
    • ‘Too many memoirs of late tell us more than we wanted to know about the sordid details of individual lives.’
    • ‘Simple attention to detail will help you to avoid injury and reading the facts for golfers will arm any golfer with good, sound and practical help in playing a safe round of golf.’
    • ‘Such attention to detail is inherent throughout.’
    • ‘Roz Brown said she could not comment on the details of an individual case.’
    • ‘Further details of individual fats and oils are given in the articles on the various nuts and other sources from which they are produced.’
    • ‘Ask them to examine the pictures carefully, looking for individual details.’
    • ‘Please give full details of any individual claims of more than £100.’
    particular, feature, characteristic, respect, ingredient, attribute, item, specific, fact, piece of information, point, factor, element, circumstance, consideration, aspect, facet, side, part, unit, component, constituent, member, accessory
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    1. 1.1A less significant item or fact.
      ‘he didn't want them to get sidetracked on a detail of policy’
      • ‘I think we are all slowly winding down into holiday mode and worrying less and less about the minor details.’
      • ‘In a piece written for the New York Review of Books, James Fenton pulls Bizot up for a couple of factual mistakes, but these seem to me to be minor details.’
      • ‘We'd all aged a bit, with changes in hairstyles and clothes and a few other minor details.’
      • ‘Step two: wait a year or two and repeat step one, changing the stars and some minor plot details and call it a sequel.’
      • ‘This may seem like a minor detail, until you realize the gaffe.’
      • ‘Some minor details have yet to be completed, i.e. heating, phone lines and furnishings.’
      • ‘He seemed eager to run out the clock as he filled time with digressions and minor details.’
      • ‘I disagree with some of the minor details here and there, but yes we do need reform.’
      • ‘Evidently about what it is to that reporter's editor - a detail too minor to warrant correction.’
      • ‘That way, nobody ever invites me to drone on endlessly about minor details of the Red Centre.’
      • ‘The statesmen who run our fair country can't afford to worry about minor details like that.’
      • ‘But such minor details do not stop anyone with an agenda from plucking figures out of thin air and claiming they prove a point.’
      • ‘The details of the process, which I have got right in essentials but wrong in some fairly minor details, are here.’
      • ‘All those are minor details, when it comes down to the question of where this country should be going, in the big picture.’
      • ‘FitzGerald came across as somebody who frets at minor details.’
      • ‘Not only are the small details now significantly more vivid, but the overall levels have been adjusted as well.’
      • ‘There is no point in worrying about these minor details at such important times.’
      • ‘I had got to a point where I hadn't learned anything new for ages and I was getting overly upset by minor household details.’
      • ‘These are some minor details Mr. Langer must have forgotten in his interview.’
      • ‘Just a minor detail: it means I have to keep writing letters to parents implying that I'm there to meet their every need when actually I'm out of there on Jan 30th.’
      unimportant point, insignificant item, trivial fact, nicety, subtlety
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    2. 1.2A minor decorative feature of a building or work of art.
      ‘a detail on Charlemagne's tomb’
      • ‘Actions of current rifles are similar to those of the LSA models with just a few minor design details.’
      • ‘The eaves and soffit detail shown on the latest plan appears to be fairly heavy in its visual impact and I would ask you to give this more consideration.’
      • ‘A sense of modernism's refined treatment of detail is garnered in the handling of the existing staircases, now glass encased and extruded from the main body of the building.’
      • ‘It's a culture known for its richly ornate details in its decorative arts.’
      • ‘But, questions are being asked on whether the renovation works were in keeping with the architectural detail of the heritage building.’
      • ‘The work featured medium shapes, smaller shapes and finally, decorative details.’
      • ‘Refined decorative details were concentrated in the entrance and the eaves of the building with rows of geometric shapes.’
      • ‘They're easy to slip on thanks to the super - tough Velcro fastening system which adds a hint of detail and stunningly chic style to the otherwise mediocre design.’
      • ‘Mosaic panels can be used as a decorative detail within a large area of standard tiles and aluminium tiles are also an option.’
      • ‘In almost every case the building's excellent original details have been retained and enhanced.’
      • ‘But Gluck says his favorite feature is the decorative detail along the top rim of the building.’
      • ‘Here the many details, such as decorative turns, came across with meaning and heartfelt expression.’
      • ‘The bride wore a duchess satin gown - by Christiana Cature - with a detached train and bow detail, and a two-tier veil.’
      • ‘He is proudly showing off some favourite details in the building he helped design.’
      • ‘One excuse for not reviewing the important details of a new building is being dazzled by the architect.’
      • ‘Decorative details include laminate flooring and strategically placed glass bricks to allow the flow of light through the home.’
      • ‘A shared vocabulary of high-tech construction details links the buildings visually.’
      • ‘Mr. Roney took this to be a typical floor detail at the east and west walls.’
      • ‘I did not bother to look at the beautiful details and decoration, I was so angry and on the verge of tears.’
      • ‘Georgian homes are similar to Colonials, but feature richer details and ornamentation.’
    3. 1.3[mass noun]The style or treatment of minor decorative features.
      ‘the classical French detail of the building's facade’
      • ‘The sparingly used stone classical detail gives distinction to a relatively low-cost brick shell.’
      • ‘No modern replica would have the intricate 1930s art deco details which can be clearly seen from close up.’
      • ‘Melville House was Fife's first mansion styled symmetrically with classical detail.’
      • ‘While the set design has some unrealistic elements to it, the costumes for A Month in the Country feature plenty of period detail.’
      • ‘Exposed stone is a strong feature of the interior, and no fewer than three walls of the living room are stone, with decorative brick detail around the doors and windows.’
      • ‘While poster art continued to prosper, the ornate details of Art Nouveau vanished.’
      • ‘Firstly, there are some matters of design detail which were never displayed.’
      • ‘Its monumental scale, classical detail and rational, ordered planning were hallmarks of the style.’
      • ‘The house was one of those imposing two-storey detached properties with brick detail, and I shared the place with five or six other fellas.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the depth and detail of the featurettes would complement a minor masterpiece.’
      • ‘Her meticulous attention to detail means she also spends considerable time researching pieces before she begins the restoration and she is currently studying the tapestry detail on the seats.’
    4. 1.4A small part of a picture that is reproduced separately for close study.
      ‘detail of right eye showing marks on the lids’
      • ‘I took snapshots of individual works and of details and became madly obsessed with the paintings.’
      • ‘Community art initiatives in South Africa tend to always follow the cliché of painting murals or producing mosaic details.’
      • ‘This photo is a detail from a stained glass window painted by Chagall.’
      • ‘Update I'm adding larger images of details of the pictures.’
      • ‘The tondo of the collage is a photograph, but only apparently a photograph of a detail from Delvaux's Aurore.’
      • ‘Figure 11.2 expands the detail to illustrate the significance of the overlaps.’
      • ‘The catalog entries on icons are richly illustrated, including details of the larger panels.’
      • ‘We see that the invitation images are details of works that play unnervingly with space.’
    5. 1.5Itemized information about someone.
      ‘the official asked for my father's details’
      • ‘You can find Ken's web site with all the details and contact information here.’
      • ‘One final tip: don't throw away anything that contains any personal information, especially financial details.’
      • ‘The site is also verisign approved, which means that clients personal information and credit card details are secure.’
      • ‘The first was basic core information such as contact details and information on the legal areas practiced by the solicitor.’
      • ‘Controlling availability of personal details of sources/informants is also important.’
      • ‘Under the new scheme, people will only have to notify the Met of the keyholder details and the information will be collated in one place.’
      • ‘The directory gives contact details and various information, including where and when they train.’
      • ‘Benefit claimants would also use the card, which could contain health records, fingerprint information and bank details.’
      • ‘Create a notebook to capture all the important household and family informational details.’
      • ‘Some of the papers contained highly sensitive details of informers and information supplied to Special Branch.’
      • ‘While they would prefer if callers leave their names and contact details, information can be left anonymously.’
      • ‘Include basic details like contact information, band members, name of song and the name of the album it comes from.’
      • ‘Van Straaten said all the Nedcor clients who had phoned him wanted to know whether he had any information about their banking details.’
      • ‘Visitors were asked to hand over credit card details and personal information.’
      • ‘For more resources and useful contact details see the Further Information: 21+ page.’
      • ‘The fraudsters then pasted a notice to induce victims to divulge their bank information details.’
      • ‘Those interested can glean a bit more information and contact details from their project page at Garage Games.’
      • ‘Several have been swiped recently by crooks hoping to glean banking details and personal information.’
      • ‘Detectives established addresses and other details and passed the information to British authorities.’
      • ‘This information matched account details recovered during a search of a flat in Holland where a man was arrested.’
  • 2A small detachment of troops or police officers given a special duty.

    ‘the governor's security detail’
    • ‘Other predominantly male camps, such as Buchenwald, included female labour details employed on munitions work.’
    • ‘On Friday the State Department confirmed the use of a private security detail managed by officers of its Diplomatic Security Service.’
    • ‘He had assigned an enormous security detail to guard the Queen but he still wanted to watch her himself.’
    • ‘After proceeding outside, team advanced upon Moloctan guard detail on duty around shuttle craft.’
    • ‘He was hurriedly escorted from the area by his security detail and Israeli police.’
    • ‘She was very composed while he thanked the flight crew and the security detail.’
    • ‘That, he says, as his special branch detail outpace the Big Banana battlebus through Corstorphine traffic, could be a good sign.’
    • ‘Troops should eat, play, train and even pull support details as squads, platoons and companies.’
    • ‘Hank Grotowski is a corrections officer heading the death row detail of a southern U.S. penitentiary.’
    • ‘At gunnery, they are gate guards and amino detail.’
    • ‘Then two Hummers pulled up and discharged the no-nonsense secret service detail.’
    • ‘The tubby, middle-aged sergeant in charge of the gate detail scarcely bothered to look up at their approach.’
    • ‘In that same year, he joined the Army MI Branch with a detail to the Infantry.’
    • ‘After an enemy work detail enters the tunnel, the patrol blows up the entrance.’
    • ‘At the main table the rest of the Bright Eyes sat with the bridge crew, mechanics and technicians, and the small security detail assigned to the ship.’
    unit, detachment, squad, troop, contingent, outfit, task force, crew, patrol, section, formation
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    1. 2.1[often with modifier]A special duty assigned to a detachment of troops or police officers.
      ‘I didn't often get the toilet detail’
      • ‘They are the rights and duties of daily duty detail, inspection commissions, etc.’
      • ‘Mr. Naess testified that his specific assignment in the work detail was ‘clean up’.’
      • ‘The quantitative correlation of special-purpose details in alert crews also changed.’
      • ‘I'm not going to stick you on dish detail or cleaning toilets.’
      • ‘Gould recently completed a 3-year detail to the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Live Fire Office.’
      • ‘In addition to that commitment, medics worked with civil ambulance on first aid tasks along with a range of other personnel working on rear detail support functions.’
      • ‘Some troops are on cleanup detail in parts of New Orleans the flood never touched.’
      • ‘In the wake of this, I wonder who he is going to give toilet detail to.’
      • ‘He took stock of the small contingent assigned the unpleasant task of burial detail.’
      task, job, duty, chore, charge, labour, piece of work, piece of business, assignment, function, commission, secondment, mission, engagement, occupation, undertaking, exercise, business, office, responsibility, errand
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  • 1Give full information about.

    ‘the report details proposals to improve public transport’
    • ‘The report obviously came from high ranking deserters because in addition to troop strengths it detailed the individual personalities of the top leaders.’
    • ‘I pleaded with them to help us get a program made detailing the male victims point of view.’
    • ‘Ian Finnigan, operations team leader for the region, said the agency will be producing a full report detailing how areas were affected.’
    • ‘Participants recognised pioneer aviator Sir Norman Brearley with the unveiling of a plaque detailing information about Sir Brearley and the country's first airline service.’
    • ‘And what specifically was detailed in that October report that Major O'Kane saw?’
    • ‘The files hold thousands of papers which detail information such as full names, National Insurance numbers, salaries, family contact details and job descriptions.’
    • ‘This report is intended to detail the preliminary fieldwork information found during the excavation of Agaparthea.’
    • ‘Residents on Canvey have backed plans to spend ‘civic pride’ cash on a information board detailing the island's history.’
    • ‘The report also details a lengthy catalogue of human rights infringements and cultural destruction associated with the dam.’
    • ‘The needs of the school are vast and due to space restraints this reporter could not detail the full list of over-crowding issues.’
    • ‘The report goes on to detail a list of differences between the way the city and Enmax operate.’
    • ‘This treasure trove of information details the daring deeds and derring-do of a galaxy of Headingley Stadium stars.’
    • ‘It's a story he's detailed in a new book called ‘Memoirs of a Mug Punter’.’
    • ‘She tried and failed to make sense of the screens detailing flight information and missed an announcement on the public address system calling her to the gate.’
    • ‘Researching the poster campaign I discovered a number of internet web-logs detailing other people's outraged responses.’
    • ‘The leaflet was produced in support of the Irish beef industry in light of BSE and provides factual information detailing beef production controls along with three new beef recipes.’
    • ‘More than 2,000 information packs detailing the sort of help available to businesses have been issued by Ryedale District Council.’
    • ‘In comedic fashion, the dos and don'ts of winning and keeping a man are detailed to assist the hapless female in finding Mr. Right.’
    • ‘The accounts of other socialist women are detailed at the Women and Marxism website.’
    • ‘The painful conditions in the Achilles tendon region of these 21 badminton players are detailed in Table 3.’
    present, describe, set out, set forth, draw up, delineate, frame
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  • 2 Assign (someone) to undertake a particular task.

    ‘the ships were detailed to keep watch’
    • ‘In times of war and the threat of raiding parties, men are detailed to act as lookouts from the tower.’
    • ‘A quote from a German soldier speaks of how six men were detailed to each execution - three to target the head, the others the heart.’
    • ‘My team was detailed to recover the Americans from the site.’
    • ‘While he was there, he and other prisoners were detailed to build a monument to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 1943 rebellion on Rab.’
    • ‘That part of his evidence can never go because otherwise there is no explanation for why he detailed this person.’
    • ‘I also did ‘psychic surgery’ one day at a station I was detailed to.’
    • ‘I was detailed to be ‘a breeding unit’ and I was not therefore able to control how I managed the children coming into my family.’
    • ‘Two of the guards were detailed to shoot the shark as it was being brought up to the deck.’
    • ‘He testified that as a police officer, he was detailed to maintain law and order at Chisokone Polling Station.’
    • ‘The regimental commander could detail additional soldiers if necessary.’
    • ‘Aware that I was detailed to serve as orderly at the Supreme Court, I prepared my tunic the night before, so that the following morning I was only required to slip into it and appear at my post on time.’
    • ‘Another method of capturing data that has been used successfully in the past is to detail a Soldier to go around with a tabbed folder to unit members.’
    • ‘They had also tracked down the poor horse, detailing someone to ride it back to the police station.’
    • ‘O.K., France has detailed one officer to help train the Iraqi police.’
    • ‘On the arrival in the Sheremetyevo airport, the man was detailed by the local police.’
    • ‘The army, public services and Local Authority staff were detailed to assist in organising harvesting operations and in providing transport and food for volunteers.’
    • ‘Soldiers are detailed for duties concerned with the maintenance of discipline and upholding the laws of war.’
    • ‘The Metropolitan Police were so concerned, two Special Branch officers were detailed to accompany Galloway to a debate on US foreign policy at Cambridge on Thursday.’
    • ‘He is detailed to work with his father who lives 4 miles below Jacksonville.’
    • ‘The British tried to effect an improvement by detailing liaison officers, but these officers found themselves practically helpless.’
    assign, allocate, appoint, delegate, commission, ordain, charge, send, post, nominate, vote, elect, adopt, co-opt, select, choose
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  • 3US Clean (a motor vehicle) thoroughly.

    • ‘When you're on the road today, or in a shopping mall, observe how many cars are detailed with stripes, lightning bolts or rectangles.’
    • ‘Or maybe it's in the garage, spending more time than is really necessary to detail the car.’
    • ‘Remove dints and scratches and chips from cars; detail your car inside and out and respray the car, for $1000.’
    • ‘The model is detailed with a sunroof and electric chromic rear view mirror, and boasts a six-speed manual or 4-stage auto sportshift.’
    • ‘You probably spend hours detailing your car - so how about spending a few minutes on those nails.’
    • ‘The graphics are utterly sensational, the cars are superbly detailed and the cities and lighting are even more incredible than is totally believable or even necessary.’
    • ‘They can actually change how your Honda looks by having your Honda bumper detailed or painted with whatever design or color you may fancy.’


Early 17th century (in the sense ‘minor items or events regarded collectively’): from French détail (noun), détailler (verb), from dé- (expressing separation) + tailler to cut (based on Latin talea twig, cutting).