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[dih-strakt] /dɪˈstrækt/
verb (used with object)
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
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin distractus (past participle of distrahere to draw apart), equivalent to dis- dis-1 + trac- (variant stem of trahere to draw) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
distractible, adjective
distractingly, adverb
nondistracting, adjective
nondistractingly, adverb
undistracting, adjective
undistractingly, adverb
2. bewilder, agitate, pain, torment, distress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for distractingly
Historical Examples
  • She was a distractingly pretty woman, and she had thrown herself upon his mercy.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
  • I shall be distractingly fond of frills all the rest of my life.

  • She powdered her nose and looked penitent and distractingly pretty.

    Affinities and Other Stories Mary Roberts Rinehard
  • I'd no idea how to stop the thing Which now distractingly began to ring.

    Home Lyrics Hannah S. Battersby
  • He had not forgotten how distractingly pretty she was when she blushed.

    The Road to Understanding Eleanor H. Porter
  • I can't work with you dangling about distractingly like this.

    Crome Yellow Aldous Huxley
  • Gray drove him to the station; Cecile, in distractingly pretty negligee waved him audacious adieu from her window.

    The Firing Line Robert W. Chambers
  • Rhoda's squaring of her slender shoulders was distractingly boyish.

    The Heart of the Desert Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Beneath the floor the oft-repeated gnawing of a mouse or rat went on, distractingly.

    The Peace of Roaring River George van Schaick
  • Her fair hair is being blown like a silver cloud hither and thither and renders her distractingly pretty.

    Rossmoyne Unknown
British Dictionary definitions for distractingly


verb (transitive)
(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
Derived Forms
distracter, noun
distractible, adjective
distractibility, noun
distracting, adjective
distractingly, adverb
distractive, adjective
distractively, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin distractus perplexed, from distrahere to pull in different directions, from dis-1 + 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 distractingly



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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