[noun dih-teyl, dee-teyl; verb dih-teyl or for 13, dee-teyl]


verb (used with object)


    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 tailor1
Related formspre·de·tail, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for detail Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for details

minutiae, specifics, particulars

Examples from the Web for details

Contemporary Examples of details

Historical Examples of details

  • His grasp of details delighted Uncle Peter and surprised Coplen.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • When he entered he had only to pause a moment before he had all the details clearly in mind.

  • In the beginning it was incredulous about some of the details.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • When the details were explained to him Mike declared, emphatically, that some one had got at the mare.


    W. A. Fraser

  • There are other details I might mention—that cane, for instance—but let it pass.

British Dictionary definitions for details



an item or smaller part that is considered separately; particular
an item or circumstance that is insignificant or unimportantpassengers' comfort was regarded as a detail
treatment of or attention to items or particularsthis 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 (tr)

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 for detail

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

Word Origin and History for details



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with details


see in detail.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.