dis·​trac·​tion | \ di-ˈstrak-shən How to pronounce distraction (audio) \

Definition of distraction

1 : something that distracts : an object that directs one's attention away from something else turned off her phone to limit distractions One created a distraction while the other grabbed the money. especially : amusement a harmless distraction a book of word puzzles and other distractions
2 : the act of distracting or the state of being distracted especially : mental confusion driven to distraction by their endless chatter

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Other Words from distraction

distractive \ di-​ˈstrak-​tiv How to pronounce distractive (audio) \ adjective

Examples of distraction in a Sentence

It was hard to work with so many distractions. One of them created a distraction while the other grabbed the money. A weekend at the beach was a good distraction from her troubles. Their endless chatter drove her to distraction.
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Recent Examples on the Web

On scholarship at Iowa, school and track are now 24/7, no distractions. Steve Brand, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mount Miguel alum now an NCAA champ," 20 June 2019 Investigators don’t think any impairment, excessive speed, or distractions were factors in the crash. Serena O'sullivan, azcentral, "62-year-old bicyclist dies from injuries after a 22-year-old driver struck him, police say," 20 June 2019 The signing of Foles has a chance to get the Jaguars back in the playoff mix, but Jacksonville was still plagued by distractions this spring. John Clayton, The Denver Post, "The Steelers think they’ll be just fine on offense, and more NFL offseason takeaways," 19 June 2019 Do not let distractions get in the way of your success. Janice Steinhagen, courant.com, "Plainfield High School Class Of 2019 Graduates," 17 June 2019 Automotive safety experts say risky behavior is a major source of danger, including drinking, speeding and distraction. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "2018 was third-deadliest year of the decade on American roads, NHTSA says," 17 June 2019 For them, packing the Supreme Court, impeaching the president, abolishing the Electoral College and other gesture-promises probably are distractions. George F. Will, The Mercury News, "Will: Democrats must focus on practicality and a sure winner in 2020," 15 June 2019 The administration's split is becoming a concerning distraction for Kentucky Republicans ahead of the 2019 governor's race against Democrat Andy Beshear. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "McConnell was behind kicking Jenean Hampton off Bevin's reelection ticket, fired aide says," 15 June 2019 Amash claimed his exit was voluntary and will help avoid unwanted distractions. Nick Givas, Fox News, "Donald Trump Jr. takes on Justin Amash on Twitter over impeachment comments," 14 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for distraction

see distract entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near distraction








Statistics for distraction

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distraction

The first known use of distraction was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for distraction



English Language Learners Definition of distraction

: something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention
: something that amuses or entertains you so that you do not think about problems, work, etc.
: a state in which you are very annoyed or upset


dis·​trac·​tion | \ di-ˈstrak-shən How to pronounce distraction (audio) \

Kids Definition of distraction

1 : something that makes it hard to pay attention One robber created a distraction and the other grabbed the money.
2 : the act of having thoughts or attention drawn away : the state of drawing thoughts or attention away … he needed to clear his head, to flush away all distraction— Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee
3 : confusion of thoughts or feelings Their endless chatter drove me to distraction.
4 : something that amuses or entertains The game was a good distraction during the long car ride.


dis·​trac·​tion | \ dis-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce distraction (audio) \

Medical Definition of distraction

1a : diversion of the attention
b : mental confusion
2 : excessive separation (as from improper traction) of fracture fragments

Other Words from distraction

distract \ dis-​ˈtrakt How to pronounce distract (audio) \ transitive verb

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Comments on distraction

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


to take the place or position of

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