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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 detractor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And, thus, I am very glad that my detractor should ever report a trifling lie about me, rather than the terrible truth.

    Santa Teresa Alexander Whyte
  • Peter Saraceno has been seized because he is an enemy and detractor of the emperor.

  • The preceding observations are sufficient to exhibit the nature, causes, and effects of the fault of the detractor.

    Talkers John Bate
  • Thou shalt not be a detractor nor a whisperer among the people.

  • Such are the chief particulars composing the character of the detractor.

    Talkers John Bate
  • The thought of a fool is sin: and the detractor is the abomination of men.

  • Strabo appears neither as detractor nor as partisan, but as one who earnestly desires the truth.

  • At times, for days on end, he would be annoyed with every sort of admirer and detractor and even adviser.

British Dictionary definitions for detractor


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 detractor

late 14c., from Anglo-French detractour, Old French detractor "detractor, backbiter," from Latin detractor, agent noun from detrahere (see detraction).



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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