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[sahyd-trak] /ˈsaɪdˌtræk/
verb (used with or without object)
to move from the main track to a siding, as a train.
to move or distract from the main subject or course.
any railroad track, other than a siding, auxiliary to the main track.
Origin of sidetrack
An Americanism dating back to 1825-35; side1 + track Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sidetrack
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Would it advance or sidetrack him in the career he had outlined for himself?

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • You've not been paying proper attention to me; you were off on a sidetrack of your own laying.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • At Wassiwappa, Ray got instructions to sidetrack until Thirty-six went by.

    Song of the Lark Willa Cather
  • You have one talent already; why do you want to follow a sidetrack.

    The Precipice Ivan Goncharov
  • We became attached to this sidetrack, and for a long time had the sole use of it.

  • sidetrack your emotions if you can and stick to the mainline!

    Cleek of Scotland Yard

    Thomas W. Hanshew
  • For the army London is on a sidetrack—is an out of the way place.

  • That's the kind of a sidetrack the Stars and Stripes would switch you onto.'

    Roads of Destiny

    O. Henry
  • He could not help smiling a little at the adroit way she tried to sidetrack him, even though he was angry at her.

    The Yukon Trail

    William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for sidetrack


to distract or be distracted from a main subject or topic
(US & Canadian) a railway siding
the act or an instance of sidetracking; digression
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 sidetrack

also side-track, "railway siding," 1835, from side (adj.) + track (n.). The verb meaning "to move (a train car) onto a sidetrack" is from 1874; figurative sense of "to divert from the main purpose" is attested from 1881. Related: Sidetracked.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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