sidetrack (plural sidetracks)

  1. (rail transport) A second, relatively short length of track just to the side of a railroad track, joined to the main track by switches at one or both ends, used either for unloading freight, or to allow two trains on a same track to meet (opposite directions) or pass (same direction); a railroad siding.
  2. (sometimes) Any auxiliary railroad track, as differentiated from a siding, that runs adjacent to the main track.
  3. (mining) A smaller tunnel or well drilled as an auxiliary off a main tunnel or well.
  4. An alternate train of thought, issue, topic, or activity, that is a deviation or distraction from the topic at hand or central activity, and secondary or subordinate in importance or effectiveness.
    Stay focused on the story; you keep getting lost in all of these little sidetracks.
  • (small railroad track for unloading, passing) railroad siding, siding, lay-by (UK)

sidetrack (sidetracks, present participle sidetracking; past and past participle sidetracked)

  1. To divert (a locomotive) on to a lesser used track in order to allow other trains to pass.
  2. To divert or distract (someone) from a main issue or course of action with an alternate or less relevant topic or activity; or, to use deliberate trickery or sly wordplay when talking to (a person) in order to avoid discussion of a subject.
    Sorry I'm late. I got sidetracked helping my friend move some furniture.
    The politician sidetracked the reporter with a story about duck hunting instead of a direct response to the question that was asked.
    I hope you can sidetrack the teacher with questions so we don't have to take the exam.
  3. To sideline; to push aside; to divert or distract from, reducing (something) to a secondary or subordinate position.
    The project was sidetracked in favor of a more popular program.
    He has sidetracked this debate for far too long.
  4. (intransitive) To deviate briefly from the topic at hand.
    Just to sidetrack a little bit from the subject I will explain my reasoning.
    To sidetrack for a moment, let me commend this team for their outstanding efforts.
  • (deviate from the topic at hand) digress
  • Russian: отвлекаться

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