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 appeal won’t change anything at AT&T while the district court’s ruling remains in effect, but comes as an unwelcome distraction for the company, where executives were eager to plunge into the high-profile world of show business. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "Justice Department Appeals Ruling Allowing AT&T-Time Warner Merger," 12 July 2018 Bierhoff added that the pic caused a media storm for Ozil and unnecessary distractions for the team. SI.com, "Mesut Ozil's Germany Career Reportedly Over as Tensions Mount Following Controversial Photo," 10 July 2018 If the Hornets had become aggressive in asking for a huge buyout number, Howard could have just reported to training camp and become a huge distraction for rookie coach James Borrego. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Why not just buy out Dwight Howard? Why Charlotte Hornets taking trade route instead," 22 June 2018 His presence in Moscow can be an awkward distraction for FIFA and its new president, Gianni Infantino, who comes from a neighboring town in the same Swiss canon (state) as his predecessor. Graham Dunbar, Fox News, "Banned ex-FIFA president Blatter in Russia for World Cup," 19 June 2018 His presence in Moscow can be an awkward distraction for FIFA and its new president, Gianni Infantino, who comes from a neighboring town in the same Swiss canon (state) as his predecessor. Washington Post, "Banned ex-FIFA president Blatter in Russia for World Cup," 19 June 2018 But his absence would not be regarded as a major distraction for a team that features a majority of players who are familiar with head coach McVay’s offense and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. Dan Woike & Gary Klein, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Chargers ready for quiet minicamp; Rams likely missing Aaron Donald," 11 June 2018 Facebook’s data scandal could prove a distraction for it as well. Rani Molla, Recode, "Microsoft executive Brad Smith: ‘If you create tech that changes the world, the world is going to want to govern you.’," 29 May 2018 The demonstrations have proved to be a welcome distraction for Hamas, refocusing anger against Israel as frustration built against the group in Gaza. BostonGlobe.com, "Death toll for Gaza protests rises; more demonstrations expected," 15 May 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

1 Sep 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).


an open space surrounded by woods

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