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 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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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 If the licking is bothersome, don't reprimand the dog, but instead distract them from their mission with a treat. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 28 May 2021 Where 63-year-old Paulina Luna and 82-year-old Abelardo Arroyo sell elote and esquite to pay the rent and distract themselves from memories of the son and daughter stolen away by the pandemic. Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 The normal expectation is that everyone inside a conventional car has to be respectful of the driver sitting in the driver’s seat and try not to bump them, distract them, or interfere with the driving chore. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 26 May 2021 If small children are within earshot of you reading this, hold their ears, or distract them with cryptocurrency historical pricing charts. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 25 May 2021 This can be annoying and can totally distract you from your workout. Emily Shiffer, SELF, 24 Feb. 2021 The impact of coronavirus played an unanticipated role in all this during 2020, starting with the fact that people spent more time at home, looking for ways to amuse and distract themselves. Brian Lowry, CNN, 14 Dec. 2020 Like taking a hike or walking through autumnal city streets, contemplating the wonders of the universe can help soothe the mind, or at least distract it for a while. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 26 Oct. 2020 Perpetual connectivity has led to a plethora of early social media apps that are designed to addict and distract us. Padmasree Warrior, Fortune, 25 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for distract

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for distract

Last Updated

1 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Distract.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distract. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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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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