distract

verb
dis·​tract | \ di-ˈstrakt How to pronounce distract (audio) \
distracted; distracting; distracts

Definition of distract

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to draw or direct (something, such as someone's attention) to a different object or in different directions at the same time was distracted by a sudden noise
b : to turn aside : divert refused to be distracted from her purpose
2 : to stir up or confuse with conflicting emotions or motives

distract

adjective
dis·​tract | \ di-ˈstrakt How to pronounce distract (audio) , ˈdis-ˌtrakt \

Definition of distract (Entry 2 of 2)

archaic
: insane, mad

Other Words from distract

Verb

distractibility \ di-​ˌstrak-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce distract (audio) \ noun
distractible or less commonly distractable \ di-​ˈstrak-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce distract (audio) \ adjective
distractingly \ di-​ˈstrak-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce distract (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for distract

Synonyms: Verb

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Verb

puzzle, perplex, bewilder, distract, nonplus, confound, dumbfound mean to baffle and disturb mentally. puzzle implies existence of a problem difficult to solve. the persistent fever puzzled the doctor perplex adds a suggestion of worry and uncertainty especially about making a necessary decision. a behavior that perplexed her friends bewilder stresses a confusion of mind that hampers clear and decisive thinking. a bewildering number of possibilities distract implies agitation or uncertainty induced by conflicting preoccupations or interests. distracted by personal problems nonplus implies a bafflement that makes orderly planning or deciding impossible. the remark left us utterly nonplussed confound implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or profound abasement. the tragic news confounded us all dumbfound suggests intense but momentary confounding; often the idea of astonishment is so stressed that it becomes a near synonym of astound. was at first too dumbfounded to reply

Examples of distract in a Sentence

Verb You sneak into his room while I distract him. He was distracted from his studies. The students are easily distracted, especially when they're tired. I was distracted by a loud noise. The local story distracted attention from news of the war overseas.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Throwing yourself into chores and other routine tasks could feel like an effective way to distract yourself from your worries at this time. Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2022 Ask them what urgent tasks tend to gobble up their attention and distract them from important, money-making tasks. Dylan Ogline, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 Plan carefully, as there’s a lot to distract and excite you that day. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 29 July 2022 Was that strategy to distract us all wondering who plowed her cheeks? Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 18 July 2022 Then came Lance Armstrong and his high-cadence climbing technique, which at the time seemed revolutionary, but in retrospect was probably just another smokescreen to distract from all the doping. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, 21 July 2022 Remington said Gableman intended to use his appearance in court to distract from his office’s failure to comply with past court orders to supply records requested by American Oversight. Scott Bauer, Chicago Tribune, 15 June 2022 When law enforcement executed their search of the couple’s apartment on Jan. 5, Morgan and Lichtenstein apparently attempted to use their cat to distract federal agents. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 10 Feb. 2022 The option to play co-op with up to four players also means players can bring their friends along for the ride, or use them as fodder to distract the zombies from themselves. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 9 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distract.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of distract

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for distract

Verb

Middle English, from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere, literally, to draw apart, from dis- + trahere to draw

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Time Traveler for distract

Time Traveler

The first known use of distract was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near distract

distr

distract

distracted

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Statistics for distract

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Distract.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distract. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for distract

distract

verb
dis·​tract | \ di-ˈstrakt How to pronounce distract (audio) \
distracted; distracting

Kids Definition of distract

: to draw a person's thoughts or attention to something else The TV distracts me when I'm studying.

More from Merriam-Webster on distract

Nglish: Translation of distract for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distract for Arabic Speakers

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