[ noun dih-teyl, dee-teyl; verb dih-teyl or, for 13, dee-teyl ]
See synonyms for: detaildetaileddetailingdetails on

  1. an individual or minute part; an item or particular.

  2. particulars collectively; minutiae.

  1. attention to or treatment of a subject in individual or minute parts: to postpone detail and concentrate on a subject as a whole.

  2. intricate, finely wrought decoration.

  3. Engineering. detail drawing.

  4. any small section of a larger structure or whole, considered as a unit.

  5. Military.

    • an appointment or assignment, as of a small group or an officer, for a special task.

    • the party or person so selected: the kitchen detail.

    • a particular assignment of duty.

  6. 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)
  1. to relate or report with complete particulars; tell fully and distinctly.

  2. to mention one by one; specify; list: He detailed the events leading up to the robbery.

  1. Military. to appoint or assign for some particular duty: We were detailed to patrol the border.

  2. to provide with intricate, finely wrought decoration: lingerie detailed with lace and embroidery.

  3. 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.

Idioms about detail

  1. in detail, item by item; with particulars: The résumé stated his qualifications in detail.

Origin of detail

First recorded in 1595–1605; from French détail, Old French, noun derivative of detailler “to cut in pieces,” equivalent to de- “away, apart , etc.” (see dis-1) + tailler “to cut,” from unattested Vulgar Latin taliāre; see tailor1

Other words for detail

Other words from detail

  • pre·de·tail, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use detail in a sentence

  • The reader is referred to larger works upon urinalysis for details.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
  • Not only have its fundamental principles been fully vindicated but in most details the working of the measure has been successful.

    Readings in Money and Banking | Chester Arthur Phillips
  • She gave details of the singular mood that had come upon her with the arrival of Tony, but Tom hardly heard her.

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
  • The two-thirds objective should be used as a finder, while the one-sixth is reserved for examining details.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
  • I never trouble my head about details; it is enough, the man is a political refugee, and his object concealment.

    Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

British Dictionary definitions for detail


/ (ˈdiːteɪl) /

  1. an item or smaller part that is considered separately; particular

  2. an item or circumstance that is insignificant or unimportant: passengers' comfort was regarded as a detail

  1. treatment of or attention to items or particulars: this essay includes too much detail

  2. items collectively; particulars

  3. a small or accessory section or element in a painting, building, statue, etc, esp when considered in isolation

  4. military

    • the act of assigning personnel for a specific duty, esp a fatigue

    • the personnel selected

    • the duty or assignment

  5. go into detail to include all or most particulars

  6. in detail including all or most particulars or items thoroughly

  1. to list or relate fully

  2. military to select (personnel) for a specific duty

  1. to decorate or elaborate (carving, etc) with fine delicate drawing or designs

Origin of 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with detail


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.