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[dih-strawt] /dɪˈstrɔt/
distracted; deeply agitated.
mentally deranged; crazed.
Origin of distraught
1350-1400; Middle English variant of obsolete distract distracted, by association with straught, old past participle of stretch
Related forms
distraughtly, adverb
overdistraught, adjective
undistraught, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for distraught
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She burst into a little peal of laughter as she looked into his distraught face.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • The children were distraught and restless, and things went wrong.

  • I should have known that she was not herself, that she was frightened and nervous and distraught.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine Joseph C. Lincoln
  • She was ill, distraught, perhaps even—God help her I—perhaps even mad.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • In her distraught state of mind she had scarcely pondered that contingency.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for distraught


distracted or agitated
(rare) mad
Word Origin
C14: changed from obsolete distract through influence of obsolete straught, past participle of stretch
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 distraught

late 14c., alteration (Englishing) of earlier distract (perhaps by association with other past participle forms in -ght, such as caught, bought, brought), mid-14c., past participle of distracten "derange the intellect of, drive mad" (see distract).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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