sidetrack

To sidetrack is to veer off a straight path, or to cause something (or someone) to do so. The smell of a rabbit in the woods might sidetrack your dog from coming when you call him.

In addition to literally wandering off course, sidetrack can also be used figuratively, when someone gets distracted from a task or focus, like when your text messages sidetrack you from finishing your homework. You can sidetrack a conversation, too, by controlling it and steering it in a new direction: "She always sidetracks the conversation so we end up talking about television."

Definitions of sidetrack
  1. verb
    wander from a direct or straight course
    synonyms: depart, digress, straggle
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    type of:
    deviate, divert
    turn aside; turn away from
  2. noun
    a short stretch of railroad track used to store rolling stock or enable trains on the same line to pass
    synonyms: railroad siding, siding, turnout
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    type of:
    railroad, railroad track, railway
    a line of track providing a runway for wheels
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