- an individual or minute part; an item or particular.
- particulars collectively; minutiae.
- attention to or treatment of a subject in individual or minute parts: to postpone detail and concentrate on a subject as a whole.
- intricate, finely wrought decoration.
- Engineering. detail drawing.
- any small section of a larger structure or whole, considered as a unit.
- 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.
- 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)
- to relate or report with complete particulars; tell fully and distinctly.
- to mention one by one; specify; list: He detailed the events leading up to the robbery.
- Military. to appoint or assign for some particular duty: We were detailed to patrol the border.
- to provide with intricate, finely wrought decoration: lingerie detailed with lace and embroidery.
- 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.
- in detail, item by item; with particulars: The résumé stated his qualifications in detail.
- 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
- the act of assigning personnel for a specific duty, esp a fatigue
- the personnel selected
- the duty or assignment
- go into detail to include all or most particulars
- in detail including all or most particulars or items thoroughly
- 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
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.
With close attention to particulars; thoroughly. For example, She explained her theory in detail. It is also put as go into detail, meaning “to investigate thoroughly,” as in You know what I mean, so I needn’t go into detail. The first expression dates from about 1600, the second from the late 1800s.
see in detail.