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From Old French digressiun or disgressiun, from Latin digressio, from digressus + -io (forming abstract nouns from verbs), the past passive participle of digredi (to step away, to digress), from dis- + gradi (to step, walk, go).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dʌɪˈɡɹɛʃən/, /dɪˈɡɹɛʃən/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /daɪˈɡɹɛʃən/


digression (countable and uncountable, plural digressions)

  1. An aside, an act of straying from the main subject in speech or writing.
    The lectures included lengthy digressions on topics ranging from the professor's dog to the meaning of life.
    • c. 1374, Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus & Criseyde, i, l. 87:
      It were a long disgression
      Fro my matere.
    • 2022 November 21, Barney Ronay, “Iran’s brave and powerful gesture is a small wonder from a World Cup of woe”, in The Guardian[1]:
      History tells us stodgy, cautious stuff, cardigan-football is the way to go here. The 1966 World Cup kicked off with 0-0 draw against Uruguay so tedious the Guardian match report contains a whimsical digression on the writer’s urge to drift off to sleep in the second half.
  2. (generally uncountable) The act of straying from the main subject in speech or writing, (rhetoric) particularly for rhetorical effect.
    make digression... by way of digression...
  3. (obsolete) A deviancy, a sin or error, an act of straying from the path of righteousness or a general rule.
    • 1517, Stephen Hawes, Pastime of Pleasure, i, ll. 12 ff.:
      More stronger hadde her operacyon
      Than she hath nowe in her dygressyon.
  4. (now rare) A deviation, an act of straying from a path.
    • 1670, Charles Cotton translating Guillaume Girard as History of the Life of the Duke of Espernon, Bk. i, Ch. iv, p. 144:
      By this little digression into Gascony, the Duke had an opportunity... to re-inforce himself with some particular Servants of his.
  5. (astronomy, physics) An elongation, a deflection or deviation from a mean position or expected path.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Bk. VI, Ch. iv, p. 288:
      This digression [of the Sun] is not equall, but neare the Æquinoxiall intersections, it is right and greater, near the Solstices, more oblique and lesser.


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From Latin dīgressiō.


  • IPA(key): /di.ɡʁɛ.sjɔ̃/, /di.ɡʁe.sjɔ̃/
  • (file)


digression f (plural digressions)

  1. digression

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