- having the attention diverted: She tossed several rocks to the far left and slipped past the distracted sentry.
- rendered incapable of behaving, reacting, etc., in a normal manner, as by worry, remorse, or the like; irrational; disturbed.
Origin of distracted
- to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention: The music distracted him from his work.
- to disturb or trouble greatly in mind; beset: Grief distracted him.
- to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain: I'm bored with bridge, but golf still distracts me.
- to separate or divide by dissension or strife.
- Obsolete. distracted.
Origin of distract
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for distracted
Employers—both women and men—think mothers are distracted by family duties.How Good Dads Can Change the World
Gary Barker, PhD, Michael Kaufman
January 6, 2015
First we laugh, then we begin to wonder why the man was so distracted that he didn't notice he'd taken the doorknob with him.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days
December 13, 2014
At the moment when the remaining gunmen were distracted by a cellphone call, the five survivors bolted into the darkness.Mexico’s First Lady of Murder Is on the Lam
October 29, 2014
They end up flirting with some girls while traveling with Ben, and are so distracted that they leave him on a city bus.15 Times ‘Friends’ Was Really, Really Weird
September 18, 2014
Amid our grief we now see that New York had been distracted by flash and wit and cash for too long.The Resilient City: New York After 9/11
September 11, 2014
If Dr. von Horn were only there, thought the distracted girl.The Monster Men
Edgar Rice Burroughs
He himself had been distracted by all those extraordinary narratives.
The two distracted women had not even the money to bury him.
And he felt that he was as distracted, as upset, as himself.
They are not distracted with the fear of evils to come nor the hopes of future good.The Praise of Folly
- bewildered; confused
- (often passive) to draw the attention of (a person) away from something
- to divide or confuse the attention of (a person)
- to amuse or entertain
- to trouble greatly
- to make mad
Word Origin and History for distracted
mid-14c., "to draw asunder or apart, to turn aside" (literal and figurative), from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere "draw in different directions," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).
Sense of "to throw into a state of mind in which one knows not how to act" is from 1580s. Related: Distracted; distracting; distractedly; distractedness.