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From Latin digressum, past participle of digredi.
digress (third-person singular simple present digresses, present participle digressing, simple past and past participle digressed)
- (intransitive) To step or turn aside; to deviate; to swerve; especially, to turn aside from the main subject of attention, or course of argument, in writing or speaking.
- 1601, C[aius] Plinius Secundus [i.e., Pliny the Elder], “(please specify |book=I to XXXVII)”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Historie of the VVorld. Commonly Called, The Natvrall Historie of C. Plinivs Secvndus. […], (please specify |tome=1 or 2), London: […] Adam Islip, published 1635, →OCLC:
- Moreover she beginneth to digress in latitude.
- 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], chapter 3, in An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. […], London: […] Eliz[abeth] Holt, for Thomas Basset, […], →OCLC:
- In the pursuit of an argument there is hardly room to digress into a particular definition as often as a man varies the signification of any term.
- 1959, Tom Lehrer (music), “In Old Mexico”:
- […] For I hadn't had so much fun since the day / my brother's dog Rover / got run over. / (Rover was killed by a Pontiac. And it was done with such grace and artistry that the witnesses awarded the driver both ears and the tail – but I digress.)
- (intransitive) To turn aside from the right path; to transgress; to offend.
- 1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act 5, scene 3]:
- Thy overflow of good converts to bad;
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.
Often heard in the set phrase But I digress, where the word behaves as a stative verb, whereas it otherwise patterns as a dynamic verb.
- (turn from the course of argument): sidetrack