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

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 How to pronounce detractor (audio) \ 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

McGuire said nothing in AB 2805 is going to detract from his clients' experiences. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Wild pigs cause millions in damages in California. But hunting them could become easier," 25 June 2018 But incessant name-dropping aside — which tends to detract from his gripping narrative — Holiday has written one helluva page-turner. William D. Cohan, New York Times, "Bringing Down a Media Empire," 27 Feb. 2018 In fact, Kate has opted out of serving as Pippa's matron of honor, determined not to detract attention from the bride to be, according to royal experts. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Challenge Of Living Up To Your Sister's (Or Best Friend's) Wedding," 15 May 2017 Raising awareness about cyber-bullying is a noble cause, but this collection—and its rollout—unfortunately detracted from the issue. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Online Retailer Revolve Removes Sweatshirts From Its Website After Accusations of Fat-Shaming," 12 Sep. 2018 If a team drafts a player in the first 10 rounds but cannot sign him, the slot value of that pick is detracted from the team’s pool. Chris Johnson,, "Kyler Murray's Baseball and Football Careers Converge for an Intriguing Summer at Oklahoma," 1 June 2018 Even Bash and Sam -- the series' token male characters, rare for being handily outnumbered -- get more depth in a way that doesn't detract from the worthy leading ladies surrounding them. Caroline Framke,, "'Glow' goes from good to great in Season 2," 15 June 2018 For some, what’s happening at Facebook doesn’t detract from Sandberg’s work with Lean In. Anna North, Vox, "How Facebook’s scandals are hurting Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In brand," 17 Dec. 2018 Floating shelves add functionality without detracting from the look of the tile. Lisa Selin Davis, WSJ, "The Kitchen’s New Design Darling: Cement Tile," 19 Nov. 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

14 Apr 2019

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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 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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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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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