sidetrack

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(off) on a sidetrack

1. Addressing a topic or topics not relevant to the main discussion. I tried to address the customer's problem, but she kept going off on a sidetrack and I couldn't understand what her true complaint was. In the middle of our conversation about my finances, my advisor went on a sidetrack about current events.
2. Branching off into some entirely different field, profession, or pursuit. I actually studied and trained as a pianist before going off on a side track into metallurgy. Our company was originally focused on developing new, original games for modern hardware, but about 10 years ago we went on a sidetrack and just kind of became a full-time porting company for other studios.
See also: on, sidetrack

*off on a sidetrack

Fig. on a digression; discussing a topic that is not the main topic. (Alludes to a train waiting on a siding. *Typically: be ~; get ~; get someone~.) Anne got off on a sidetrack and never returned to her topic. The ineffective committee got off on one sidetrack after another.
See also: off, on, sidetrack
References in periodicals archive ?
Still, we see our 10% estimate for the number of sidetracking jobs as more realistic than management's estimate of around 15%.
Summary: Circle Oil has announced initial results from the Al-Amir SE-3 appraisal well, which has been successfully drilled following sidetracking in the onshore North West Gemsa Concession in Egypt.
Looking For Updates On Drilling Orders, Sidetracking Competition
Sidetrack #2 began on July 29 when Sidetrack #1 encountered some problems.Aa The A1-18/01 well was at a depth of 2,550 meters and sidetracking into Sidetrack #2, due to hole problems in Sidetrack #1, Oil Search said in a statement.