de·​tract | \di-ˈtrakt, dē-\

Definition of detract 

transitive verb

1 archaic : to speak ill of

2 archaic : to take away

3 : divert didn't mean to detract attention from the guest of honor

intransitive verb

: to diminish the importance, value, or effectiveness of something often used with from small errors that do not seriously detract from the book

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Other Words from detract

detractor \-​ˈtrak-​tər \ noun

Examples of detract in a Sentence

numerous typos in the text detract the reader's attention from the novel's intricate plot

Recent Examples on the Web

However, Maneke said, the restrictions on audio and visual reporting will detract from the public’s overall ability to understand the trial. Bryan Lowry And Joseph Bustos, kansascity, "No photos will be allowed when Greitens verdict comes down | The Kansas City Star," 9 May 2018 The truth is that the qualifier does detract from Wallace’s achievement. John Smallwood,, "Bubba Wallace could change the race by establishing a legacy in NASCAR," 2 May 2018 Here’s to the notion that the absence of T.O. won’t detract one bit from the ultimate career-capping moment for the other members of the Class of 2018. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Pro Football Hall of Fame selector: Terrell Owens' bush league snub further clouds legacy," 8 June 2018 Kelce said that for him, missing the visit didn’t detract at all from winning the championship. Les Bowen,, "Chris Long, Zach Ertz stress unity as reporters outnumber players in Eagles locker room," 6 June 2018 None of this is meant to detract from this research. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers claim to have transferred a memory between two sea slugs," 16 May 2018 Advocates for automation maintained that the tragedy shouldn't detract from the likelihood that driverless technology is eliminating human error and making driving safer. Russ Mitchell,, "Driverless cars are growing in number, but makers don't want to reveal how they sometimes fail," 30 Apr. 2018 Also detracting from the kvetchy autobiography is Stern's voice as a writer. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "'Little Panic': How the Etan Patz kidnapping terrorized author Amanda Stern," 10 July 2018 At the time the rule was put into place, the NBA was viewed as an uncivilized place, with skirmishes detracting from what has since moved to a more free-flowing, aesthetically pleasing game. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Has NBA common sense arrived too late for Heat?," 3 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detract.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of detract

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for detract

Middle English, from Latin detractus, past participle of detrahere to pull down, disparage, from de- + trahere to draw

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Statistics for detract

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for detract

The first known use of detract was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for detract


de·​tract | \di-ˈtrakt \
detracted; detracting

Kids Definition of detract

: to take away (as from value or importance) Signs detract from the beauty of the scenery.

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More from Merriam-Webster on detract

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detract

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detract

Spanish Central: Translation of detract

Nglish: Translation of detract for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detract for Arabic Speakers

Comments on detract

What made you want to look up detract? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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