Definition of detour in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘So when confronted with a hill, elephants prefer to take a detour along level terrain, the researchers conclude.’
    • ‘A didactic air creeps into the proceedings as the two men pick at the bones of friendship and trust, making an unexpected detour into the morality of modern marketing techniques.’
    • ‘A detour into the machine's guts to clean the heads yielded nothing, until I realized that the unit's analog recording function was fine.’
    • ‘On the way to Lake Hood, take a detour to Earthquake Park.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While on their way to sunny Hollywood, California, the Carters take a detour to visit an old abandoned silver mine.’
    • ‘On the way to the station we take a detour to visit the flat that Joe Orton lived in for seven years prior to his death.’
    • ‘On their way from playoff also-rans to just plain also rans, the Timberwolves have made an improbable detour into the NBA's elite.’
    • ‘Today as we were driving back from Arnprior, Ontario after a busy Thanksgiving weekend, K suggested we take a detour through Carp to see this building pictured above.’
    • ‘Which means I have to take a detour from my trip to the bathroom, to go the supply closet upstairs and locate more toilet paper or paper towels or whatever else is needed.’
    • ‘Travelling with her parents to their new home in the countryside, they take a detour to explore an old-fashioned Japanese bath-house, which is actually a bath-house for spirits.’
    • ‘Many technical careers take a detour into management.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘P.S. Is everybody enjoying the detour into securities law?’
    • ‘She lives near here, and I keep on thinking I should take a detour past her house on the way to town, but I'm always running late so I've never done it before.’
    • ‘They are quite an attraction, lots of people come to have, like relatives who are visiting family in the area, take a detour to come and have a look.’
    • ‘In Slovenia I made a detour to Lake Bohinj, where Agatha and second husband Max had once tried to holiday incognito, only to be run to ground by enthusiastic Slovene journalists.’
    • ‘In order to arrive at that determination, though, we must first take a detour through the philosophical puzzle know as Newcomb's Paradox.’
    • ‘The impeccable timing of all the actors helps make Le Rire de la mer laugh-out-loud funny all the way through, and ultimately quite moving, without a single detour into maudlin.’
    • ‘Having taken a detour into international pop stardom, he has returned to his first love, jazz music, to record three albums for the Concord label since 2001.’
    1. 1.1An alternative route for use by traffic when the usual road is temporarily closed.
      • ‘When you reach a roadblock, you have three choices: Retreat, ram stubbornly into the barrier, or take a detour and continue forward.’
      • ‘This route is a longer detour than the underpass now being built at Top Lane, but would likely not be a major inconvenience for car users.’
      • ‘This meant that you'd be driving along, and suddenly have to take a detour, sometimes of up to 15 kilometres.’
      • ‘All this means construction vehicles, traffic detours and arm-waving, red-stick people abound.’
      • ‘Then it built a wooden detour around the closed portion until repairs could be made.’
      • ‘Once approved, all requests are passed along to Lucien Lespérance in the circulation department, whose job is to work out all the traffic detours.’
      • ‘There are traffic restrictions and detours in operation in the area so motorists are asked to be careful.’
      • ‘For many motorists, daily back-ups between the Fort Duquesne and West End bridges on the detour for outbound traffic were the worst part of the construction.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Traffic and the general public are greatly inconvenienced by delays and detours severely impacting on road users in the area.’
      • ‘I'm actually one of those pathetic drivers who when having to take a detour, just heads in the right direction.’
      • ‘Much of the road at Strandside North, which leads to several other major housing estates, was also heavily flooded forcing residents to take a detour along the Military Road to get home.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A five-mile section of the upland route between Llanbrynmair and Llangadfan has not yet been completed, so walkers are sent on tedious road detours.’
      • ‘The tree lay supine across the street and vehicles had to take a detour for over three hours, which time it took the Corporation employees to axe the tree into transportable portions.’
      • ‘With a high degree of ongoing roadworks on the province's roads and resultant narrowing of roads or gravel detours, conditions become even more treacherous.’
      • ‘But when I took the no. 7 bus to work in the morning, it took a detour around the flooded roads (it must have been pretty bad).’
      • ‘A temporary detour has been constructed while the main road is being rebuilt and resurfaced.’
      • ‘When there is a traffic detour or a kid gets sick or I wake up late?’
      • ‘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
      relief road
      rat run
      View synonyms


[NO OBJECT]North American
  • 1 Take a long or roundabout route.

    ‘he detoured around the walls’
    • ‘Having eschewed the idea of going to the gym after work, I detoured to the grocery store.’
    • ‘As my husband and I try to leave, a Burroughs dad stops us to insist that we detour past the lunchroom, where volunteers have set out cookies and Dunn Bros coffee.’
    • ‘On the other hand, you can also affect where the traffic detours through the house via where you store popular items.’
    • ‘Jason detoured from his route to the bar and opened the door.’
    • ‘We detoured around two possible car bombs that had been cordoned off while Iraqis cautiously approached.’
    • ‘Then my brother called, saying he had forgotten to buy video tape for the camcorder, so two bridesmaids detoured to find a Safeway to buy video tape.’
    • ‘Some spectators were dancing right in front of the bandstand and every so often, a runner would detour out of the lane to join them in a few steps.’
    • ‘It was felt the route could become deeply rutted by uncontrolled vehicular use, encouraging drivers to detour off the route onto the fells.’
    • ‘We're detouring from the main trekking route to visit Babu's parents - Lhakpa is now 63, and Babu's mother, Pasi, is 61.’
    • ‘Most editorial writers seem determined to detour around obvious parallels with apartheid-era South Africa.’
    • ‘The crews detoured in a zigzag route through 19 cities before reaching Seattle.’
    • ‘He will detour through the town where my aunt is buried.’
    • ‘He gets up and heads for the mover, though he detours long enough to open the rampwell door.’
    • ‘Scott, as I've suggested, follows the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers while detouring through Burke's Reflections.’
    • ‘Without abandoning their own genres - mostly rock, but also soul, country and western, and Latin - they have detoured into Sinatra country as a way of paying musical tribute.’
    • ‘Many users can get around such blocks, however, through the use of proxy servers that detour around them.’
    • ‘My Mother brow beat me into making this trip and my cousin, the one who knows how crazy they all are, wants me to detour on the way home to go see her Mother.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After his victory, Alexander rolled through Asia Minor, detouring to Gordium to meet up with his general Parmenio.’
    • ‘Often losing sight of its prey, Portia spends twenty minutes detouring through the foliage to reach the optimal vantage point.’
    1. 1.1[with object]Avoid by taking a detour.
      ‘I would detour the endless stream of motor homes’
      • ‘It detours the usual ways that you think about exercise and tunes in to what you really need.’
      • ‘It is the price we pay for fifty years of political and intellectual stagnation, a time when the political dynamic of capitalism was detoured and frozen onto a cold war sidetrack.’
      • ‘But that path detours the real problems of relationships today and their official recognition.’
      • ‘Occasionally on these walks I would encounter something that was not comfortable, and frequently would have to detour certain areas because of it.’
      • ‘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.