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

Merely roster minutiae that serves as a distraction for one day. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "The Bears 53-man roster is set — for now. Here’s a detailed breakdown plus analysis from our team of reporters," 30 Aug. 2019 McCullar sees Friday nights as a welcome distraction. Los Angeles Times, "Trona High’s once-mighty Sandmen fight to keep football alive in wake of earthquakes," 28 Aug. 2019 Smugglers will then use that as a distraction to pull agents from their assignment and then send others across the border. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Large groups of migrants stop crossing at the Arizona-Mexico border," 19 Aug. 2019 In an apocalyptic future where humans are at war with robots, the Matrix is projected straight into humans’ minds as a distraction while their bodies are farmed by A.I. for energy. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Dodge this news: The Matrix returning to theaters for 20th anniversary," 5 Aug. 2019 Or, serve as a distraction for the team, players and coaches during the most important few days of their athletic careers? al, "Pay-to-play allegations cloud Oregon’s March Madness success," 26 Mar. 2019 This political theatre is designed to be a distraction from his real purpose, the artful manipulation of obscure rules and institutions to guarantee his hold on power. The Economist, "The corrupting of democracy," 29 Aug. 2019 The focus on Trump’s relationship with the media is often a distraction from the large, structural problems facing news organizations. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Bernie Sanders Has a Plan to Save Journalism," 28 Aug. 2019 For Greenlanders, all this chatter is just a distraction from far more serious and pressing woes. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Greenland has serious problems. A Trump deal isn’t one of them.," 21 Aug. 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

15 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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