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

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 Labeling Shakespeare’s sonnets as a product of white Western culture doesn’t detract from their elegance. WSJ, 5 July 2022 Overall, these flaws don’t detract from the Galaxy A13 5G’s value. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, 1 July 2022 But, that doesn’t really detract from the good that an app like this can do. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 6 June 2022 Gunn’s anguish here doesn’t detract from his photographic powers of description. The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 But these instances don’t dramatically detract from the central story of Bill, Matho and their community. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 May 2022 As long as your business plan is sound, a focus on people and purpose need not detract from profit but ultimately help generate it (and often disproportionately so given the aforementioned growing consumer demand for brands with a purpose). Marcel Bens, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Although Chambers’ stories aren’t speculative in the same sense as writers like Doctorow or Kim Stanley Robinson (probably the most prominent name in contemporary utopianism), that doesn’t detract from their aspirational power. Peter Hemminger, Longreads, 22 Apr. 2022 One person’s Justin Bieber fandom doesn’t threaten another’s enjoyment of Bach; one person’s deep-dish pizza does not detract from another’s trout amandine. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Detract.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on detract

Nglish: Translation of detract for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detract for Arabic Speakers


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