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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for detour
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Some detour," the scoutmaster said with an air of infinite relief.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • The tide had come in and I had to make quite a detour to get to you.

    Poisoned Air Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • Sarka had noted where the end of it had been, and started to detour, his eyes on the floor.

  • These hills are exceedingly varied, so that the detour of the place is very pleasing.

    A Tour in Ireland Arthur Young
  • Hastily mounting a mule he made a detour of the straw stack and reported.

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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