digression

When your essay about French cooking starts describing a childhood trip to Disneyland, it's taken a digression — it's strayed from the main topic.

"But I digress" is a phrase often used by people when they realize they're no longer "on-topic." A digression is like a tangent, only digression often describes speech patterns, whereas tangent comes to us from mathematics. Another trick to remembering the meaning of digression is its relationship to the word progression. A progression is a series of ideas which proceeds in the same direction; a digression, logically enough, is an idea that goes off in another direction.

Definitions of digression
1

n a message that departs from the main subject

Synonyms:
aside, divagation, excursus, parenthesis
Type of:
content, message, subject matter, substance
what a communication that is about something is about

n a turning aside (of your course or attention or concern)

“a digression into irrelevant details”
Synonyms:
deflection, deflexion, deviation, divagation, diversion
Types:
red herring
any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue
Type of:
turn, turning
the act of changing or reversing the direction of the course

n wandering from the main path of a journey

Synonyms:
excursion
Type of:
journey, journeying
the act of traveling from one place to another

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.