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detract

[dih-trakt]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to take away a part, as from quality, value, or reputation (usually followed by from).
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verb (used with object)
  1. to draw away or divert; distract: to detract another's attention from more important issues.
  2. Archaic. to take away (a part); abate: The dilapidated barn detracts charm from the landscape.
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Origin of detract

1400–50; late Middle English (< Middle French detracter) < Latin dētractus drawn away (past participle of dētrahere), equivalent to dē- de- + tractus drawn; see tract1
Related formsde·tract·ing·ly, adverbde·trac·tor, nounun·de·tract·ing, adjectiveun·de·tract·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for detract

detract

verb
  1. (when intr, usually foll by from) to take away a part (of); diminishher anger detracts from her beauty
  2. (tr) to distract or divert
  3. (tr) obsolete to belittle or disparage
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Derived Formsdetractingly, adverbdetractive or detractory, adjectivedetractively, adverbdetractor, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin dētractus drawn away, from dētrahere to pull away, disparage, from de- + trahere to drag

usage

Detract is sometimes wrongly used where distract is meant: a noise distracted (not detracted) my attention
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for detract

v.

early 15c., from Middle French détracter, from Latin detractus, past participle of detrahere "to take down, pull down, disparage" (see detraction). Related: Detracted; detracting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper