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[dih-trakt] /dɪˈtrækt/
verb (used without object)
to take away a part, as from quality, value, or reputation (usually followed by from).
verb (used with object)
to draw away or divert; distract:
to detract another's attention from more important issues.
Archaic. to take away (a part); abate:
The dilapidated barn detracts charm from the landscape.
Origin of detract
late Middle English
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 forms
detractingly, adverb
detractor, noun
undetracting, adjective
undetractingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for detracted
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Somehow they detracted from the harmony and peace of the building.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • The only thing that detracted from her pleasure was to be obliged to concur in Cody's opinion.

    The Madigans Miriam Michelson
  • He might have passed for a soldier but for something that detracted, something that Ranny noticed.

    The Combined Maze May Sinclair
  • I assure you that it has not detracted in the tiniest iota from your appearance.

  • It detracted in no sense from his conviction of direct relations with the Creator.

  • If the truth must be told it rather added to the mystery than detracted from it.

    'Farewell, Nikola' Guy Boothby
  • Evidently matrimony had detracted nothing from her in his eyes.

    Why Joan? Eleanor Mercein Kelly
  • This detracted not a whit from the entertainment, but rather added to it.

    Polly and Her Friends Abroad Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • I had neither exaggerated nor detracted from any event so far as I could recollect.

    Death Valley in '49 William Lewis Manly
British Dictionary definitions for detracted


when intr, usually foll by from. to take away a part (of); diminish: her anger detracts from her beauty
(transitive) to distract or divert
(transitive) (obsolete) to belittle or disparage
Derived Forms
detractingly, adverb
detractive, detractory, adjective
detractively, adverb
detractor, noun
Usage note
Detract is sometimes wrongly used where distract is meant: a noise distracted (not detracted) my attention
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dētractus drawn away, from dētrahere to pull away, disparage, from de- + trahere to drag
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
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Word Origin and History for detracted



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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