What word does your mother always say?


[n. dih-teyl, dee-teyl; v. dih-teyl or for 13, dee-teyl] /n. dɪˈteɪl, ˈdi teɪl; v. dɪˈteɪl or for 13, ˈdi teɪl/
an individual or minute part; an item or particular.
particulars collectively; minutiae.
attention to or treatment of a subject in individual or minute parts:
to postpone detail and concentrate on a subject as a whole.
intricate, finely wrought decoration.
Engineering, detail drawing.
any small section of a larger structure or whole, considered as a unit.
  1. an appointment or assignment, as of a small group or an officer, for a special task.
  2. the party or person so selected:
    the kitchen detail.
  3. a particular assignment of duty.
the property of an image or of a method of image production to make small, closely spaced image elements individually distinguishable.
verb (used with object)
to relate or report with complete particulars; tell fully and distinctly.
to mention one by one; specify; list:
He detailed the events leading up to the robbery.
Military. to appoint or assign for some particular duty:
We were detailed to patrol the border.
to provide with intricate, finely wrought decoration:
lingerie detailed with lace and embroidery.
to thoroughly clean (a vehicle or part of a vehicle) and do minor repairs to improve its appearance:
We detail the wheels and chrome to remove the rust.
in detail, item by item; with particulars:
The résumé stated his qualifications in detail.
Origin of detail
1595-1605; < French détail, Old French, noun derivative of detailler ‘to cut in pieces’, equivalent to de- dis-1 + tailler ‘to cut’ < Vulgar Latin *taliāre; see tailor
Related forms
predetail, verb (used with object)
10. itemize, enumerate, catalog. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for details
  • The home also features unique architectural details including an underground cave and operating observatory.
  • Sophisticated details fill this garden to the brim.
  • He sensibly decided to maximize his time at his workbench and leave the mundane operational details to his corporate partners.
  • When it comes to the financial packages that graduate students receive to pursue their degrees, the devil is in the details.
  • Please follow the relevant link for more details about the internships and how to apply.
  • They've got the details and they share them with others, who continually verify and reverify.
  • Plant as single tree where foliage details can be appreciated.
  • Please follow the link for more details about the internships and how to apply.
  • There are a few notable details of the feathery dinosaur.
  • details of salary and benefits will be emailed upon request.
British Dictionary definitions for details


an item or smaller part that is considered separately; particular
an item or circumstance that is insignificant or unimportant: passengers' comfort was regarded as a detail
treatment of or attention to items or particulars: this essay includes too much detail
items collectively; particulars
a small or accessory section or element in a painting, building, statue, etc, esp when considered in isolation
  1. the act of assigning personnel for a specific duty, esp a fatigue
  2. the personnel selected
  3. the duty or assignment
go into detail, to include all or most particulars
in detail, including all or most particulars or items thoroughly
verb (transitive)
to list or relate fully
(military) to select (personnel) for a specific duty
to decorate or elaborate (carving, etc) with fine delicate drawing or designs
Word Origin
C17: from French détail, from Old French detailler to cut in pieces, from de-dis-1 + tailler to cut; see tailor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for details



c.1600, from French détail, from Old French detail "small piece or quantity," literally "a cutting in pieces," from detaillier "cut in pieces," from de- "entirely" (see de-) + taillier "to cut in pieces" (see tailor).

Modern sense is from French en détail "piece by piece, item by item" (as opposed to en gros), a commercial term used where we would today use retail. Military sense is 1708, from notion of "distribution in detail of the daily orders first given in general," including assignment of specific duties.


1630s, from French détailler "cut up in pieces; narrate in particulars," from Old French detaillier, from detail (see detail (n.)). Related: Detailed; detailing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with details


see: in detail
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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