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

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Other Words from distract

Verb

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

Synonyms for distract

Synonyms: Verb

abstract, call off, detract, divert, throw off

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Choose the Right Synonym for distract

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Meanwhile, a gamer playing League of Legends was banned for 3 days for sharing spoilers as a way to distract their opponents. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Teachers Are Threatening Students with "Avengers: Endgame" Spoilers To Get Them To Behave In Class and I’m Outraged," 3 May 2019 My family was going bananas, and I got really caught up and really distracted. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Stars Of Eighth Grade Relive Their Middle School Horror Stories," 13 July 2018 Motor vehicle deaths in Georgia jumped by about one-third between 2014 and 2016, and authorities have largely attributed that spike to distracted driving. Tyler Estep, ajc, "State reminds distracted driving violators: Warnings won’t last forever," 11 July 2018 The Capital Gazette reports that Winters, a 20-year newspaper veteran, had previously taken an active shooter training class in which she was taught that distracting the shooter can save lives. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Capital Gazette: Slain reporter charged shooter with trash can, saved lives," 9 July 2018 Aw Shucks Becca is completely emotionally drained and is distracted on her date with Leo. Melissa Locker, Time, "The Bachelorette Recap: Everybody Hates Chris," 4 July 2018 Kris Jenner's pillowy shoulder pads nearly distract from the realization that there's a painting of a much older version of her in someone's Calabasas attic. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Who Wore the Biggest Shoulders at the 2019 Met Gala? An Investigation," 7 May 2019 Such groups routinely burn tires, flash laser lights and detonate explosives near the fence at night to distract soldiers and disturb residents of nearby Israeli communities. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Gaza officials say Palestinian man killed by Israeli troops," 30 Mar. 2019 Georgia’s new distracted driving law is now in full effect — and drivers may already have a handle on hands-free driving. Tyler Estep, ajc, "Georgia hands-free driving law: How are drivers doing on Workday 1?," 3 July 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for distract

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distract

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

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More Definitions for distract

distract

verb

English Language Learners Definition of distract

: 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

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on distract

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with distract

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for distract

Spanish Central: Translation of distract

Nglish: Translation of distract for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distract for Arabic Speakers

Comments on distract

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