de·​tract | \ di-ˈtrakt How to pronounce detract (audio) , dē- \
detracted; detracting; detracts

Definition of detract

intransitive verb

: to diminish the importance, value, or effectiveness of something often used with from small errors that do not seriously detract from the book

transitive verb

1 : divert didn't mean to detract attention from the guest of honor
2 archaic : to speak ill of
3 archaic : to take away

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Other Words from detract

detractor \ di-​ˈtrak-​tər How to pronounce detract (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

Examples of detract in a Sentence

numerous typos in the text detract the reader's attention from the novel's intricate plot
Recent Examples on the Web Since the nearest town is 87 miles away, there's no light pollution to detract from your view of the cosmos. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 26 Sep. 2021 Not since Bill Clinton fired a few cruise missiles at some empty tents in Afghanistan and a factory in Sudan has a president so obviously ordered a military strike to detract attention from his errors and lapses of judgment. A. J. Caschetta, National Review, 21 Sep. 2021 It’s a problem, though certainly not enough of one to detract from enjoyment of the series. Jen Chaney, Vulture, 1 Sep. 2021 The dry season on the West Coast is getting hotter and longer, leading to less snowfall during the wet season and later, less moisture on the ground to detract wildfires when the dry season is back again. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 17 May 2021 The setting on Thursday has been carefully engineered to enhance that feeling, though a few modern necessities detract from the romance just a bit. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 Together, the data paints a picture of an unusual economic rebound, one that is happening in fits and starts as production bottlenecks dampen car buying and higher prices detract somewhat from the strong financial situation of American households., 25 June 2021 The continuity error does not detract from the car’s muscular aesthetic that includes twin ram-air intakes on the hood, which bolstered the already beefy 370 hp, 429 Cobra Jet V-8 engine underneath. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 10 Aug. 2021 That doesn’t detract from the legitimacy of their identity as a disabled person. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 21 July 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for detract

Middle English, from Latin detractus, past participle of detrahere to pull down, disparage, from de- + trahere to draw

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Time Traveler for detract

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The first known use of detract was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Detract.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for detract


de·​tract | \ di-ˈtrakt How to pronounce detract (audio) \
detracted; detracting

Kids Definition of detract

: to take away (as from value or importance) Signs detract from the beauty of the scenery.

More from Merriam-Webster on detract

Nglish: Translation of detract for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detract for Arabic Speakers


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