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 detractor (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

But the huge center tunnel detracts from center-seat footroom. San Diego Union-Tribune, "650-hp Lamborghini Urus is all beef, no bull," 14 July 2019 None of this should detract from the immense personal impact on those caught up in the raids. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Day of Terror," 12 July 2019 Myth: Focus on obstruction detracts from focus on Russia. Barbara Mcquade, Time, "These 11 Mueller Report Myths Just Won’t Die. Here’s Why They’re Wrong," 24 June 2019 Of course, the need for significant financial backing and a team with such immense levels of skill does slightly detract from the impressiveness of the Catalan's record., "7 Players Who Returned to Their Former Club as Manager & How They Fared," 17 June 2019 Do peddlers of disinformation contribute or detract from our health as a society? Jason Rezaian, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: The State Department has been funding trolls. I’m one of their targets.," 4 June 2019 Storage Theory also offers options for double outlets and horizontal outlets, but no matter how your outlets are placed, these little shelves add so much versatility to your home without standing out too much and detracting from your decor. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "You Need to Replace Your Outlets With These Clever Outlet Shelves," 22 May 2019 Schumacher said Tuesday, adding that any stance on such a controversial issue can only divide the community and detract from more important city work that needs to be done. Phil Diehl,, "Carlsbad sticks to anti-sanctuary resolution," 13 June 2018 Though often bright and upbeat, the guitars by no means detract from the songs’ potency; instead, the catchiness is often how Jordan sneaks in some of the album’s more devastating moments. Robert Steiner,, "On Snail Mail’s ‘Lush,’ adolescent angst from an old soul," 6 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 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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Statistics for detract

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


something desired as essential

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