dis·​traught di-ˈstrȯt How to pronounce distraught (audio)
: agitated with doubt or mental conflict or pain
distraught mourners
: exhibiting a severely disordered state of mind : not mentally sound
as if thou wert distraught and mad with terrorWilliam Shakespeare
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Allison was distraught, crying for three days and begging the editors to take it down. Taylor Lorenz, Rolling Stone, 13 Sep. 2023 At one point, after a family intervention over Hunter’s drug use, a distraught Mr. Biden approached his son in the driveway of Mr. Biden’s home in Delaware. Katie Rogers, New York Times, 10 Sep. 2023 Chiswell was so distraught that her husband researched other homes Monroe had lived in and happened upon the Runyon Canyon mansion, which was listed for sale and had an open house the next day. Emily St. Martin, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 In the movie, the distraught and inebriated Annette gets gang-raped by Tony’s friends. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Sep. 2023 At Motion Picture Daily critic Herb Loeb was especially distraught. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Sep. 2023 As Anderson pulled up, a man approached, distraught. Lyndsay Winkley, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2023 No one seemed more distraught than La Vie En Rose actress Marion Cotillard. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 7 Sep. 2023 Demeter, distraught, forbade the trees to bear fruit. Jay Katsir, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'distraught.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near distraught

Cite this Entry

“Distraught.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distraught. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​traught dis-ˈtrȯt How to pronounce distraught (audio)
: disturbed with doubt or painful feelings
distraughtly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on distraught

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