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

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 The guys that are able to stay focused on their task every single day, stay within themselves and routine and stick to the process to get better, those are the guys that don’t get distracted and fall off their path. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Talking with ... Mark Prior, Padres pitching coordinator," 25 Aug. 2017 However, its study also found that Vermont has the highest rate of distracted driving. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "What ever happened to the Mass. cellphone ban for drivers?," 24 May 2018 Unaddressed by that study: How high the distracted-driving rate might be among people who don’t care enough about their driving to let an app monitor it. Rob Pegoraro, USA TODAY, "This new smartphone feature should be used by every driver, from teen to seasoned commuter," 20 May 2018 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

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

9 Nov 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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by force of circumstances

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