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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for detracting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He storms and rages at his detracting pupils; but ends with roars of laughter at their impudence.

    Hard Cash Charles Reade
  • Send to table without adding or detracting from their flavour.

    The Art of Entertaining M. E. W. Sherwood
  • The river, in full freshet, was very muddy-looking, detracting much from the beauty of the rapids.

  • There is as a vice in praising, and as frequent, as in detracting.

  • This is not detracting from the French success, which was complete and masterful.

    My Second Year of the War Frederick Palmer
  • There was one detracting element which certainly impaired its charm, the "Quid amarum," amidst all its excellence.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
  • It adds to the color of Mr. Kingsley's pages, while detracting from his authority, that he is always and inevitably a partisan.

  • Any attempt to free thee from the scorn of the rabble would result in detracting from thy singular and peculiar praise.

British Dictionary definitions for detracting


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 detracting



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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