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

Further Reading Study: Tetris is a great distraction for easing an anxious mind Enhance Games' recent Tetris press tour included stories about the series' hypnotic effect on the human brain, whether via anecdotes or formal research. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Tetris Effect review: The puzzle game of my dreams—literally," 9 Nov. 2018 The 22-year-old is currently undergoing an intense physical therapy regime but says music is the perfect distraction. USA TODAY, "Burn victim finds strength through music," 26 June 2018 This is all a distraction meant to divert our attention from the one celebrity who actually needs a pardon to get past his one tragic mistake: J.R. Smith. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Black People Aren’t Stupid: The False Notion That Kanye and Kim Are Helping Trump Win Black Voters," 11 June 2018 The groups said the move is to protect donation recipients from any distractions caused by lawsuits in the U.S. alleging Purdue and the family... Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, "Some Sacklers Suspend Charity Donations Amid Opioid Lawsuits," 25 Mar. 2019 Such distractions ruled the day until the draft ended, as Kwan was joined by pitcher Drew Rasmussen, who went in the sixth round to Milwaukee, and third baseman Michael Gretler, who was selected by Pittsburgh in the 10th round. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "Oregon State Beavers celebrate 6 MLB draft picks, prep for super regional foe Minnesota," 5 June 2018 Back on the grounds, fans seemed to be enjoying the photo opportunities and various theme park distractions as much as the comedy. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "Clusterfest lets loose in unfettered romp; fans laugh off glitches," 3 June 2018 But the World Cup in Russia has been an especially welcome distraction. Beatrice Christofaro And Marcelo Silva De Souza, chicagotribune.com, "Brazil fans lament World Cup elimination against Belgium," 7 July 2018 Alec Ross: Will release before primary, but considers the issue an unwelcome distraction. Michael Dresser, baltimoresun.com, "Democrats running for Maryland governor split on releasing tax returns," 9 June 2018

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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Statistics for distraction

Last Updated

23 Apr 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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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