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 fromsmall 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 The Sara Lee imbroglio, however, should not detract from Styles’s unanimously stellar performance on the rest of the show. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Sara Lee Had a Very Sara Lee Response to Harry Styles’s SNL Skit," 18 Nov. 2019 But these absences do not detract from Beradt’s vivid, indelible details, which deepen our understanding of life during Nazism’s early years—a period still overshadowed in the literature by accounts of mass murder and war. Mireille Juchau, The New Yorker, "How Dreams Change Under Authoritarianism," 7 Nov. 2019 But the growing preference for cold coffee spurred a new category of canned and bottled cold brew that’s widely available at retailers—and another option for on-the-go consumption that’s detracting from coffee shop visits. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "Can Starbucks Perk Back Up?," 26 Oct. 2018 But significant as many of the concerns are, none of that detracts from the fact that Brazil was the best team in this tournament. Jonathan Wilson,, "Brazil Shows Character, Quality in Winning Copa America, Restoring Faith," 7 July 2019 Freedenthal added that Eels' and Wilson's deaths shouldn't detract from suicide prevention. Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News, "Suicides of two mental health advocates in a week serve as a grim reminder," 11 Sep. 2019 But Israel has also been accused of portraying itself as a bastion of progressive values to detract attention from its 52-year occupation of the West Bank and the right-wing government’s policies toward Palestinians. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "Palestinian Authority Bans Activities by Gay Rights Group," 19 Aug. 2019 There are no awkwardly bent-over trees or ugly telephone wires to detract from the pure shape and color of the canyon. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Everyone wants to Instagram the world’s most beautiful canyon. Should they?," 11 July 2019 But one day, every four years, for the women to be the center of soccer’s world with nothing to detract or distract from them. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: C'mon, FIFA. Let the women have their day with World Cup final," 6 July 2019

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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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

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Detract.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detract

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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 constrict the range or activity of

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