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

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

Maslany's makeup art Mai Quynh changed things up with an electric orange hue (Illamasqua Lipstick in Flare, to be exact) that contrasts the dress beautifully but without being a distraction from the overall look. Allure, "The Most Exciting Hair and Makeup Looks on the 2018 Emmy Awards Red Carpet," 17 Sep. 2018 The show has proved a welcome distraction for both of them. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Meghan McCain Isn’t Afraid of a Fight," 2 Aug. 2018 Using taken children as a distraction may have been the Trump administration’s intention: Let’s take children from their families, and no one will be talking about Trump trying to get back to Russia, to Putin, to his guy. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Melania Trump's jacket can't distract us from what's really important," 24 June 2018 Just a few absences can have an outsized impact, especially after weeks of uncertainty and financial strain left many controllers reporting high levels of stress and distraction, according to controllers and union officials. Andrew Tangel, WSJ, "FAA Briefly Delays Flights at LaGuardia, Other Airports as Shutdown Hits Travel," 26 Jan. 2019 And Kelsey and Kristen, in this environment full of distractions and insanity, delivered this performance that's so real and moving, so heartbreaking and beautiful. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "How Like Father Became Netflix's Unexpected Hit of the Summer," 21 Aug. 2018 There were failures and distractions along the way. Scott Bauer, The Seattle Times, "Walker leaves a fundamentally changed Wisconsin," 7 Jan. 2019 Both of the aforementioned, and a whole lot of boisterous beauty trends that, at the very least, gave us a distraction from the state of the world. Cazzie David, Vogue, "2018’s Most Ridiculous Moments in Beauty—And Beyond!—According to Cazzie David," 22 Dec. 2018 No distractions allows for vetted, insured workers to transform the space in a three-week timeframe. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "This Renovation Start-Up Wants To Deliver Your New Bathroom To You," 17 Dec. 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

17 Feb 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 \

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).


excited commotion or publicity

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