dis·​tract·​ed | \ di-ˈstrak-təd How to pronounce distracted (audio) \

Definition of distracted

1 : having one's thoughts or attention drawn away : unable to concentrate or give attention to something a distracted driver … everyone else … is too distracted to see how lost and yearning she has become …— Richard Schickel … used to get so distracted by cellphone conversations overheard on the bus that she couldn't focus on reading.— Roni Caryn Rabin
2 : harassed, confused, or deranged especially by strong feelings a mind distracted by grief … putting that poor gentleman through a course of questions that nearly drove him distracted.— Louisa May Alcott

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Other Words from distracted

distractedly adverb
distractedness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for distracted

abstracted, preoccupied, absent, absentminded, distracted mean inattentive to what claims or demands consideration. abstracted implies absorption of the mind in something other than one's surroundings, and often suggests reflection on weighty matters. walking about with an abstracted air preoccupied often implies having one's attention so taken up by thoughts as to neglect others. too preoccupied with her debts to enjoy the meal absent stresses inability to fix the mind on present concerns due more to mental wandering than to concentration on other matters. an absent stare absentminded implies that the mind is fixed elsewhere and often refers to a habit of abstractedness. so absentminded, he's been known to wear mismatched shoes distracted may suggest an inability to concentrate caused by worry, sorrow, or anxiety. was too distracted by grief to continue working

Examples of distracted in a Sentence

If you're feeling distracted, take a break. she's been distracted about her son ever since he left on that polar expedition

Recent Examples on the Web

Among the items: — A crackdown on distracted and impaired drivers. David Koenig, The Seattle Times, "Safety board highlights need for transportation improvements," 4 Feb. 2019 Casey’s death moved Feldman to not just become an advocate against distracted driving, but to actually go to school and get a master’s degree in counseling. Doug Turnbull, ajc, "Gridlock Guy: Parents, kids work together to stop distracted driving," 26 Apr. 2018 But Winsten, who is associate dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, also believes that the looming fight against distracted driving will be more difficult. Fredrick Kunkle, chicagotribune.com, "How to reduce distracted driving in same way as drunk driving? Shame," 8 May 2017 Lane Keeping Assist may be insufficient to alert a fatigued or distracted driver of lane drift and cannot be relied on to avoid an accident or serious injury. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The All-New 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Is Pushing Commercial Utility Into the Future," 1 Dec. 2018 Everyone on staff has suffered at least one of these (or its awful cousin, the ISP outage) and been left distracted or set back to some extent. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "How I went from testing a fancy new graphics card to shouting at Windows 10," 24 Nov. 2018 Since joining in October, Figueroa said he’s more attentive in class and can write essays without getting distracted. Avalon R. Zoppo, Philly.com, "It's called the 'golf of martial arts,' but this Camden school is making Kumdo more inclusive," 31 Mar. 2018 Others say that, in addition to a growing number of bicycle commuters, fatal crash rates for bicyclists and pedestrians could be rising because more people are distracted drivers, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones. Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, "Cyclists say chilling report on hit-and-run crashes points up need to redesign streets for safety," 28 Apr. 2018 This is seen as a Band-Aid for distracted driving, though. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Sweden May Hold the Secret to Reducing Traffic Deaths," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distracted.' 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 distracted

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for distracted

Last Updated

30 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distracted

The first known use of distracted was in 1576

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English Language Learners Definition of distracted

: unable to think about or pay attention to something : unable to concentrate

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Comments on distracted

What made you want to look up distracted? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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