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

Beulah tries to distract her new friend by telling her corny jokes. Andrea Simakis, cleveland.com, "‘Come From Away’ lands its irresistible, life-affirming message about the joys of welcoming strangers," 12 July 2019 Reasonable-sounding data about average household debt levels shouldn’t distract anyone from the fact that student debt has skyrocketed. The Economist, "Smashed like avocados: how young people are treated by their elders," 10 July 2019 Such devices can be noice-makers to distract foreign submarines when Russian submarines sail out from the Kola Peninsula to the North Atlantic. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Fire Engulfs Top Secret Russian Submarine, Killing 14 Sailors," 3 July 2019 But Trump’s oafishness should not distract the U.K. from the fact that Brexit is its own problem. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "Trump Triggers a Health-Care Panic in the U.K., but Brexit Is the Real Threat," 5 June 2019 Manville’s Mary is not merely distracted but positively a junkie with screaming nerves. Adina Hoffman, The New York Review of Books, "Geoffrey O’Brien," 18 Apr. 2019 Tell them about yourself, your favorite books, and your dreams. Don’t be distracted. Willa Bennett, Seventeen, "How To *Actually* Get Your Crush To Like You Back," 30 Nov. 2018 And the safety board advised the association to have a separate tour guide to make sure its drivers weren’t distracted. Eric Adler, The Seattle Times, "Congress didn’t act after 1999 duck-boat tragedy. Now it must, experts say.," 30 July 2018 Were not going to do anything that’s distracting, this isn’t the time for a crazy bold lip or anything out of the ordinary. Colleen Kratofil, PEOPLE.com, "All the Details on Brittany Cartwright's Bridal Glam for Her Kentucky Wedding to Jax Taylor," 1 July 2019

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

19 Jul 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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