[ sahyd-trak ]
See synonyms for: sidetracksidetracked on

verb (used with or without object)
  1. to move or distract from the main subject or course.

  2. to move from the main track to a siding, as a train.

  1. any railroad track, other than a siding, that is auxiliary to the main track.

  2. a path, position, project, topic, etc., of less importance than the main one: On a sidetrack to this thread on workplace safety, let me just say a little about office footwear.

Origin of sidetrack

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35; side1 + track

Words Nearby sidetrack Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sidetrack in a sentence

  • Next to you is a signal switch that will divert the train down a sidetrack or “spur.”

  • He'll be coming around to offer to sidetrack that legislation if you'll let him build his railroad.

    Scattergood Baines | Clarence Budington Kelland
  • But circus er no circus, ye ain't a goin' to sidetrack me out'n them funeral arrangements.

    David Lannarck, Midget | George S. Harney
  • That's the kind of a sidetrack the Stars and Stripes would switch you onto.'

    Roads of Destiny | O. Henry
  • Here on a sidetrack we found small coal-burning engines ready to help us over, small driving wheels but capable of great power.

    An Artilleryman's Diary | Jenkin Lloyd Jones

British Dictionary definitions for sidetrack


/ (ˈsaɪdˌtræk) /

  1. to distract or be distracted from a main subject or topic

  1. US and Canadian a railway siding

  2. 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