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.

Nearby words

  1. sidesplittingly,
  2. sidestep,
  3. sidestream smoke,
  4. sidestroke,
  5. sideswipe,
  6. sidewalk,
  7. sidewalk artist,
  8. sidewalk sale,
  9. sidewalk superintendent,
  10. sidewalking

Origin of sidetrack

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35; side1 + track Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sidetracked

British Dictionary definitions for sidetracked



to distract or be distracted from a main subject or topic


US and 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

Word Origin and History for sidetracked



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