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[dee-too r, dih-too r] /ˈdi tʊər, dɪˈtʊər/
a roundabout or circuitous way or course, especially one used temporarily when the main route is closed.
an indirect or roundabout procedure, path, etc.
verb (used without object)
to make a detour; go by way of a detour.
verb (used with object)
to cause to make a detour.
to make a detour around:
We detoured Birmingham.
Origin of detour
1730-40 < French détour, Old French destor, derivative of destorner to turn aside, equivalent to des- de- + torner to turn Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for detour
  • Furthermore, if you provide a detour around algebra, you provide an exemption from abstract thinking.
  • It saved me a long detour by taxi on my way home last night.
  • Upper wires detour the three-million-volt harmlessly to the ground.
  • In this case, our light-car must detour around the center, missing the book.
  • It's often faster to stay on the highway, rather than detour.
  • It's understandable that many people get irritated by all this, but my detour went incredibly smoothly.
  • So when confronted with a hill, elephants prefer to take a detour along level terrain, the researchers conclude.
  • Perhaps it's time for a little philosophical detour.
  • The applause started up, and then he decided to detour into another ox-bow lake.
  • One traffic jam or detour and you can miss the whole show.
British Dictionary definitions for detour


a deviation from a direct, usually shorter route or course of action
to deviate or cause to deviate from a direct route or course of action
Word Origin
C18: from French détour, from Old French destorner to divert, turn away, from des-de- + torner to turn
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 detour

1738, from French détour, from Old French destor "side road, byway; evasion, excuse," from destorner "turn aside," from des- "aside" + tourner "to turn" (see turn (v.)).


1836 (intransitive); 1905 (transitive), from detour (n.). Related: Detoured; detouring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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