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

For all the wonderment over the moon landing, many Americans remained concerned that the program was a distraction from poverty and inequality at home. Michael Levenson, BostonGlobe.com, "50 years later, memories of the moon landing reflect a historic achievement during a turbulent time," 18 July 2019 This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Trump’s losing battle on immigration," 17 July 2019 This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of concern and consequences to the American people. Brian Bennett, Time, "Trump's Racist Tweets Came After He Faced Setbacks on Immigration Policy," 15 July 2019 This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern, and consequence to the American people. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Overt Racism Is Uniting Democrats and Unnerving Some Republicans," 15 July 2019 And still others argued that the debate over nomenclature was a distraction from the real issue, which is how migrants are being treated in detention facilities. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, "Jews who called out Ocasio-Cortez weigh in on detention centers," 9 July 2019 The best places for reading are distraction-free, or at least have seats where there are no screens in your field of vision. Washington Post, "Forget the library: The best place to lose yourself in a book is one of these bars," 8 July 2019 Out here in the China Basin, when local pitching legend and former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner takes the hill, all that chatter is just a distraction from his dominance. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ bats sputter against southpaw Madison Bumgarner as Giants beat Colorado," 25 June 2019 But this is a distraction from the real reckoning that needs to come. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "Mueller Exposes Spy Chiefs," 25 Mar. 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

21 Jul 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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