First Known Use of distract
Definition of distract
1a : to turn aside : divert refused to be distracted from her purposeb : to draw or direct (as one's attention) to a different object or in different directions at the same time was distracted by a sudden noise
2 : to stir up or confuse with conflicting emotions or motives
distractibilityplay \-ˌstrak-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
distractibleor less commonly
distractableplay \-ˈstrak-tə-bəl\ adjective
distractinglyplay \-tiŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples of distract in a sentence
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.
Origin and Etymology of distract
Middle English, from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere, literally, to draw apart, from dis- + trahere to draw
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of distract
DISTRACT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of distract for English Language Learners
: to cause (someone) to stop thinking about or paying attention to someone or something and to think about or pay attention to someone or something else instead
: to take (attention) away from someone or something
DISTRACT Defined for Kids
Definition of distract for Students
: to draw a person's thoughts or attention to something else The TV distracts me when I'm studying.
Word Root of distract
The Latin word tractus, meaning “pulled” or “dragged,” gives us the root tract. Words from the Latin tractus have to do with being pulled or dragged. To attract is to pull or draw towards you. To distract is to pull someone's attention away from something. To extract is to pull one thing out of another. To subtract is to pull a portion or number away from a group or from a whole.
Seen and Heard
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