dis·tract·ed | \ di-ˈstrak-təd \

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for distracted


absent, absentminded, abstracted, preoccupied



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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

Traffic fatalities remain stubbornly high in the U.S., fueled by distracted and drunken driving, more miles being driven and a spike in pedestrian deaths. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Sweden May Hold the Secret to Reducing Traffic Deaths," 26 June 2018 Others seem distracted, and getting their attention could be difficult. BostonGlobe.com, "We can’t afford to replace empathy with apathy," 10 July 2018 Rich Levitan lost his teen daughter, Merritt, to a distracted driver on July 2, 2013. Tyler Estep, ajc, "Hands-free law forcing Georgia drivers to kick phone habit," 5 July 2018 More cellphones, more crashes Nationally, about 10 percent of about 35,000 people who died in vehicle crashes in 2015 died at the hands of a distracted driver, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "How one metro Phoenix city may crack down on cellphone use while driving," 19 June 2018 Automaker Ford has experimented with virtual reality, immersing viewers in a pit crew at Le Mans and simulating distracted driving to teach teens in Europe about roadway safety. Miranda Moore, latimes.com, "'Uncle Drew' shows that audiences will pay to watch branded content," 5 July 2018 As more states look to refine their own distracted driving laws, there is some concern among driver safety proponents that laws crafted too specifically could need to be reworked again a few years down the road. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "You can't stream video while driving, more states decide as distracted driving deaths rise," 28 June 2018 One reels from outrage and pain to distracted avoidance, even numbness. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Jacket Heard Round the World," 22 June 2018 Tempe has a distracted driving law that lets police cite drivers for talking on the phone or texting, but only if police think the drivers pose a risk to themselves or others. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "How one metro Phoenix city may crack down on cellphone use while driving," 19 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

31 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distracted

The first known use of distracted was in 1576

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More Definitions for distracted



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

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