dis·​trac·​tion | \di-ˈstrak-shən \

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 \ -​ˈstrak-​tiv \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for distraction


delight, diversion, entertainment, fun, pleasure, recreation


bore, bummer, downer, drag

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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

The Patriots remain the NFL's only 21st century dynasty, and the track record in the Belichick-Brady era suggests the team will overcome distractions, personal agendas and personnel challenges. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Patriots training camp questions: Will rocky offseason carry over for AFC champions?," 13 July 2018 This is all a distraction, these are scare tactics used against Justice O'Connor, Justice Kennedy, Justice Suitor. Fox News, "Democrats target SCOTUS candidate Amy Coney Barrett," 6 July 2018 Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Texas drivers can expect increased enforcement over Fourth of July," 29 June 2018 Avoid distractions like eating or using your phone. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Your chances of hitting a deer in Georgia are greater than you think," 7 June 2018 The issue was a constant distraction, and annoyance, for owners whose primary concern is not the Super Bowl but cash flow. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Want to put a stop to kneeling during the national anthem, NFL? Stop playing it | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 23 May 2018 What has changed is not so much the level of noise, which previous centuries also complained about, but the level of distraction, which occupies the space that silence might invade. The Economist, "People crave silence, yet are unnerved by it," 17 May 2018 Now that the welcome distraction provided by dreams of World Cup glory is over, England has little choice but to turn its attention to pressing geopolitical issues. NBC News, "England fans proud despite World Cup semifinal loss to Croatia," 12 July 2018 For example, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox include similar tools, and browser extensions like the Mercury Reader for Google Chrome can also give you a distraction-free reading experience. New York Times, "Reader Mode in Safari," 3 July 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

10 Nov 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \ 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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