Synonym Chooser

How does the verb distract differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of distract are bewilder, confound, dumbfound, nonplus, perplex, and puzzle. While all these words mean "to baffle and disturb mentally," distract implies agitation or uncertainty induced by conflicting preoccupations or interests.

distracted by personal problems

When might bewilder be a better fit than distract?

While in some cases nearly identical to distract, bewilder stresses a confusion of mind that hampers clear and decisive thinking.

a bewildering number of possibilities

When can confound be used instead of distract?

Although the words confound and distract have much in common, confound implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or profound abasement.

the tragic news confounded us all

When is dumbfound a more appropriate choice than distract?

The synonyms dumbfound and distract are sometimes interchangeable, but dumbfound suggests intense but momentary confounding; often the idea of astonishment is so stressed that it becomes a near synonym of astound.

was at first too dumbfounded to reply

When could nonplus be used to replace distract?

In some situations, the words nonplus and distract are roughly equivalent. However, nonplus implies a bafflement that makes orderly planning or deciding impossible.

the remark left us utterly nonplussed

When is it sensible to use perplex instead of distract?

While the synonyms perplex and distract are close in meaning, perplex adds a suggestion of worry and uncertainty especially about making a necessary decision.

a behavior that perplexed her friends

Where would puzzle be a reasonable alternative to distract?

The meanings of puzzle and distract largely overlap; however, puzzle implies existence of a problem difficult to solve.

the persistent fever puzzled the doctor

Thesaurus Entries Near distract

Cite this Entry

“Distract.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/distract. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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