de·​tract | \ di-ˈtrakt How to pronounce detract (audio) , dē- \
detracted; detracting; detracts

Definition of detract

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

transitive verb

1 : divert didn't mean to detract attention from the guest of honor
2 archaic : to speak ill of
3 archaic : to take away

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Other Words from detract

detractor \ di-​ˈtrak-​tər How to pronounce detract (audio) , dē-​ \ 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 None of them has a lot of it — too much mayo can detract from the main ingredient of the salad — but each has just enough to build flavors from a creamy, smooth base. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 3 June 2021 Feige explained, however, that the team didn't want Dr. Stephen Strange's cameo to detract from Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and her own story. Benjamin Vanhoose,, 4 May 2021 Please, don't let the naysayers detract from the goal of keeping our air and environment healthy. Star Tribune, 25 Mar. 2021 These phrases often serve as filler and detract from concise, clear and effective communication. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 28 May 2021 But all of this doesn’t detract from the magnificence of his work and a collectors’ desire to own a JAR design. Jill Newman, Town & Country, 28 May 2021 Will team’s like the one in Birmingham detract from the college game? Joseph Goodman |, al, 22 May 2021 Such actions ignore pleas from the Wright family to keep the focus on Daunte, and those behaviors detract from the legitimate message of ending the scourge of Black citizens being injured or killed in police encounters. Arkansas Online, 17 Apr. 2021 Text and Instagram messages could contribute to that or detract from it. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 26 Mar. 2021

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 2

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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Learn More about detract

Time Traveler for detract

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for detract

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Detract.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for detract


de·​tract | \ di-ˈtrakt How to pronounce detract (audio) \
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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