Thesaurus

distracted

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of distracted

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 feeling overwhelming fear or worry
  • she's been distracted about her son ever since he left on that polar expedition

Synonyms for distracted

Words Related to distracted

Phrases Synonymous with distracted

Near Antonyms for distracted

Antonyms for distracted

2 lost in thought and unaware of one's surroundings or actions
  • the distracted driver rear-ended the pickup truck that had stopped for the red light

Synonyms for distracted

Words Related to distracted

Near Antonyms for distracted

Antonyms for distracted

3 suffering from mental confusion
  • she's been chronically depressed and distracted since her husband's death

Synonyms for distracted

Words Related to distracted

Phrases Synonymous with distracted

Near Antonyms for distracted

Antonyms for distracted

distracted

verb
past tense of distract

Synonyms & Antonyms of distracted (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to draw the attention or mind to something else
  • we were distracted from our discussion by the noise outside

Synonyms for distracted

Words Related to distracted

Near Antonyms for distracted

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About distracted

How is the word distracted distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of distracted are absentminded, absent, abstracted, and preoccupied. While all these words mean "inattentive to what claims or demands consideration," distracted may suggest an inability to concentrate caused by worry, sorrow, or anxiety.

was too distracted by grief to continue working

When is absent a more appropriate choice than distracted?

The meanings of absent and distracted largely overlap; however, absent stresses inability to fix the mind on present concerns due more to mental wandering than to concentration on other matters.

an absent stare

When can absentminded be used instead of distracted?

In some situations, the words absentminded and distracted are roughly equivalent. However, absentminded implies that the mind is fixed elsewhere and often refers to a habit of abstractedness.

so absentminded, he's been known to wear mismatched shoes

Where would abstracted be a reasonable alternative to distracted?

The words abstracted and distracted are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, abstracted implies absorption of the mind in something other than one's surroundings, and often suggests reflection on weighty matters.

walking about with an abstracted air

When might preoccupied be a better fit than distracted?

While the synonyms preoccupied and distracted are close in meaning, preoccupied often implies having one's attention so taken up by thoughts as to neglect others.

too preoccupied with her debts to enjoy the meal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about distracted

Time Traveler for distracted

Time Traveler

The first known use of distracted was in 1576

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Distracted.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/distracted. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on distracted

Dictionary: Definition of distracted

Nglish: Translation of distracted for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distracted for Arabic Speakers

Comments on distracted

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!