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

Other Words from distraction

distractive \ di-​ˈstrak-​tiv How to pronounce distraction (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.
Recent Examples on the Web As for allowing the proceedings to become a distraction, Stefanski doesn’t anticipate it. cleveland, 20 Apr. 2022 In addition, companies are realizing people need better places to collaborate and socialize, but also places for privacy—especially for employees who don’t have an ideal at-home setting for distraction-free work. Tracy Brower, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2022 As pressure grew, both Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Tchen stepped down, saying their ties to the former governor had become a divisive distraction. New York Times, 3 Feb. 2022 Sure, connected-gym hardware offers an integrated, distraction-free, sensor-laden social experience. Nicole Nguyen, WSJ, 9 Jan. 2022 The risk is that by spilling over into next year’s midterm election cycle, the issue could become a distraction for Democratic lawmakers defending their razor-thin Congressional majorities. NBC News, 10 Sep. 2021 Reality and fidelity to history is not the point; distraction and attachment to your credit card is. Michael Goldstein, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Another sinister distraction occurred when a fox that later tested positive for rabies struck fear into the hearts of those who work on Capitol Hill. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 7 Apr. 2022 The ability to take phone calls can be essential to some people, and a distraction to others so hands-free wireless connectivity is something to look out for in its features. Terri Williams, SELF, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for distraction

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

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Statistics for distraction

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Distraction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distraction. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for distraction


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 distraction (audio) \ transitive verb

More from Merriam-Webster on distraction

Nglish: Translation of distraction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distraction for Arabic Speakers


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