dis·​traught | \ di-ˈstrȯt \

Definition of distraught

1 : agitated with doubt or mental conflict or pain distraught mourners
2 : mentally deranged : crazed as if thou wert distraught and mad with terror— William Shakespeare

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Other Words from distraught

distraughtly adverb

Examples of distraught in a Sentence

Of particular concern are phony contractors, who knock on the doors of distraught homeowners and offer to repair damaged roofs or remove fallen trees. — Natalie Rodriguez, This Old House, March 2006 The night before the story broke, West sat down for a two-hour interview with the Spokane-Review and left so distraught that its editor, Steven Smith, asked the police chief to check on him. — Unmesh Kher, Time, 23 May 2005 Captured by news photographers under the direction of his manager Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis's turn in the barber's chair was a public ceremony: a symbolic shearing, not only of Elvis—who would return from the service a meek semblance of himself, a mama's boy without a mama (his distraught mother, Gladys, died while he was stationed at Fort Hood, soon to depart for Germany)—but of rock 'n' roll itself. — James Wolcott, Vanity Fair, November 2000 Distraught relatives are waiting for news of the missing children. She was distraught over the death of her partner.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Many seemed distraught, some on the verge of tears. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle will make the Supreme Court a pivotal issue in 2018 — and 2020.," 7 Oct. 2018 In Provincetown, police have taken 28 reports from distraught victims since 2016, almost all of whom cited Craigslist, town officials told me. Sean P. Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "Ripped off by phantom rentals on Craigslist," 23 June 2018 Justin Bieber was seen looking extremely distraught in the car on Thursday as his wife, Hailey Baldwin, looked on. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Justin Bieber Seen Looking Distraught After News of Selena Gomez’s Emotional Breakdown," 12 Oct. 2018 Ramos Valencia has not been able to speak to Sanchez Gonzalez since they were separated, and their children are distraught since their father was taken away, the rights group said. Washington Post, "Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison," 24 June 2018 The trailer ends with a visibly distraught Frank, who lets out a worried sigh while sitting at his desk. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "The New 'Blue Bloods' Trailer for Season 9 Is Here and It's So Intense," 26 Sep. 2018 The kicker in this piece is when anonymous claims that the cabinet officials, so distraught by the president even toyed with the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway reacts to anonymous 'resistance' NYT op-ed," 5 Sep. 2018 Many Chinese have volunteered their services at the hospital to help distraught relatives. Fox News, "Thailand pledges justice for Chinese victims of boat tragedy," 8 July 2018 On a bright morning last June, a man who was distraught over President Trump’s election opened fire on the Republican congressional baseball team here at a public park complex. Noah Weiland, New York Times, "9 Minutes of Terror, 12 Months of Recovery: Inside the Republican Baseball Team’s Return," 10 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distraught.' 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 distraught

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for distraught

Middle English, modification of Latin distractus — see distract entry 1

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for distraught

The first known use of distraught was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for distraught



English Language Learners Definition of distraught

: very upset : so upset that you are not able to think clearly or behave normally


dis·​traught | \ di-ˈstrȯt \

Kids Definition of distraught

: very upset

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Comments on distraught

What made you want to look up distraught? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


excited commotion or publicity

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