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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The field was originally to be closed down in February this year but with the help of sidetrack drilling Statoil will be able to keep the field profitable until 2008.
RU-2A is one of five planned sidetracks and over 13 new wells on the company's Osprey platform.
M2 EQUITYBITES-June 25, 2013-Miller Energy Resources Inc's RU-2 Sidetrack well flowing oil at commercial rate of 1,281 BOPD(C)2013 M2 COMMUNICATIONS http://www.m2.com
Oil and natural gas company Miller Energy Resources Inc (NYSE:MILL) and its wholly owned Alaskan operating subsidiary , Cook Inlet Energy, jointly revealed on Monday that their RU-2 Sidetrack (RU-2A) well was successfully brought online upon completion on 20 June 2013.
C.A.T.oil should also be able to ramp up the number of sidetracks from 2Q11, especially with two new rigs in operation.
MCM Conveyors' enhanced overhead monorail systems, the "Sidetrack" range has been specifically designed to eliminate the risk of product contamination that is associated with falling debris from the conveyor chain.