View synonyms for distract


[ dih-strakt ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention:

    The music distracted him from his work.

  2. to disturb or trouble greatly in mind; beset:

    Grief distracted him.

    Synonyms: distress, torment, pain, agitate, bewilder

  3. to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain:

    I'm bored with bridge, but golf still distracts me.

  4. to separate or divide by dissension or strife.


  1. Obsolete. distracted.


/ dɪˈstrækt /


  1. often passive to draw the attention of (a person) away from something
  2. to divide or confuse the attention of (a person)
  3. to amuse or entertain
  4. to trouble greatly
  5. to make mad

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Derived Forms

  • disˈtractingly, adverb
  • disˈtractively, adverb
  • disˈtracting, adjective
  • disˈtractible, adjective
  • disˌtractiˈbility, noun
  • disˈtractive, adjective
  • disˈtracter, noun
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Other Words From

  • dis·tracti·ble adjective
  • dis·tracting·ly adverb
  • nondis·tracting adjective
  • nondis·tracting·ly adverb
  • undis·tracting adjective
  • undis·tracting·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of distract1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin distractus “drawn apart,” past participle of distrahere “to draw apart,” from dis- dis- 1 + trahere “to draw”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of distract1

C14: from Latin distractus perplexed, from distrahere to pull in different directions, from dis- 1+ trahere to drag
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Example Sentences

Its contemporary, sturdy design won’t distract you from the task at hand, but helps easily recall a date while you’re taking phone calls or mapping out your month.

They may have the sun in their eyes or become distracted by a mosquito.

Yet many business leaders are distracted from that mission at best—and, at worst, perpetuating bias themselves.

From Quartz

If the ellipse persists in your visual system, your decision between the two should be slower, because the coin’s ellipse would distract you from the actual ellipse.

Getting bogged down on any specific ranking factor is not a good idea and can distract you from your business goals.

However we strain to distract ourselves, our consciousness of death heightens our awareness of evil.

“I reached out, grabbing him, trying to get his attention, trying to distract him,” Valentino told The Post.

They still just distract us from generally more substantive topics in need of our attention.

The discussion of race in the league just serves to distract from why players misbehave.

In the evenings brilliant slashes of purple and pink distract the horizon as the sun makes its way towards the sea.

He was so full of pretty ways and dainty devices for to distract my mind, I never thought of counting.

Irresponsible as he is, he must be allowed to move about without anything to distract his attention.

Home, where nothing comes to distract me from my gnawing griefs and almost intolerable thoughts.

My time was chiefly spent in talking, and listening to the conversation of others, in order to distract my attention.

He quickly loosed a deer which was tied to his saddle, but the prey was not sufficient to distract them from their purpose.