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distracted

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verb

past tense of distract

Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near distracted

Cite this Entry

“Distracted.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/distracted. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

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