section of a composition or speech that marks a temporary shift of subject

Digression consists in turning aside from something, especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument in speech or writing.


  • A gap – small or big, g hisyorical, linguistic, social, or ecological in nature develops between the past and present cultures,... Digression bridges this gap, making the unknown known, irrational rational, obscure clear, incredible credible...
  • That digression business got on my nerves. I don't know. The trouble with me is, I like it when somebody digresses. It's more interesting and all. … Oh, sure! I like somebody to stick to the point and all. But I don't like them to stick too much to the point. I don't know. I guess I don't like it when somebody sticks to the point all the time. The boys that got the best marks in Oral Expression were the ones that stuck to the point all the time — I admit it. But there was this one boy, Richard Kinsella. He didn't stick to the point too much, and they were always yelling "Digression!" at him. It was terrible, because in the first place, he was a very nervous guy — I mean he was a very nervous guy — and his lips were always shaking whenever it was his time to make a speech, and you could hardly hear him if you were sitting way in the back of the room. When his lips sort of quit shaking a little bit, though, I liked his speeches better than anybody else's.… It's nice when somebody tells you about their uncle. Especially when they start out telling you about their father's farm and then all of a sudden get more interested in their uncle. I mean it's dirty to keep yelling "Digression!" at him when he's all nice and excited. I don't know. It's hard to explain.
  • Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine; —& they are the life, the soul of reading; — take them out of this book for instance, — you might as well take the book along with them.
    • Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760-1767), Book I, Ch. 22

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