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

Tougher tests will come, but this is a promising opening for a side distracted by Europa League commitments. SI.com, "Leicester 0-0 Wolves: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Top Six Hopefuls Play Out Goalless Draw," 11 Aug. 2019 Now In the video Winter-White shared, Keith is unwilling to be distracted by the off-camera voice of his wife Margaret asking him questions. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Everyone Loves This Heartwarming Story of This Grandpa Who Lives to Give His Loved Ones Manicures," 5 Aug. 2019 Starting Thursday, police around the state again will be looking for drivers who are distracted by their cellphones. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Connecticut police will look for distracted drivers this weekend," 31 July 2019 Will DeForest Buckner be distracted by contract talks? oregonlive.com, "Can DeForest Buckner reach elite status? 10 questions for the San Francisco 49ers as NFL training camp opens," 29 July 2019 Consumers — distracted by Peak TV choices and streamers — increasingly reserve their moviegoing dollars for the biggest spectacles, leaving smaller and midrange titles such as Stuber in the lurch. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Amid Box Office Woes, Momentum Grows for Variable Pricing at Movie Theaters," 22 July 2019 The congresswomen responded in a news conference, urging Americans not to be baited or distracted by Trump's taunts. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things to know for July 16: Racist tweets, Assange, Puerto Rico, teens & screens," 16 July 2019 Test your knowledge while trying to not be distracted by how amazing these women are. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "Jessica Alba And Gabrielle Union Play 'How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?'," 9 July 2019 Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation – including preparing for questioning by criminal investigators – are time-consuming and distracting. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh's staunch gun-rights defense among hundreds of decisions in spotlight," 28 Aug. 2018

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

16 Aug 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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