- 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 for distract on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for distract
However we strain to distract ourselves, our consciousness of death heightens our awareness of evil.McConaughey’s ‘Stand’—And Ours
December 5, 2014
“I reached out, grabbing him, trying to get his attention, trying to distract him,” Valentino told The Post.Bill Cosby’s Long List of Accusers (So Far): 18 Alleged Sexual Assault Victims Between 1965-2004
November 24, 2014
They still just distract us from generally more substantive topics in need of our attention.#FixTheInternet: The Hashtag That Beat Back Kim Kardashian’s Butt
November 14, 2014
The discussion of race in the league just serves to distract from why players misbehave.Ex-NFL Linebacker: We Talk Around Race, Not About It
October 23, 2014
He uses it to dismiss hecklers and distract from bad news in the Garden State.Chris Christie Tries to Dance His Way Back Into Your Heart
June 13, 2014
He hoped to distract her from such grief over her predicament.Within the Law
Recently so many things had arisen to distract her attention.Her Father's Daughter
And then Steve Yerden is enough to distract a leather-man, any way.Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 2.
Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)
I do not want to distract his mind from his lessons, and I wish to be quite sure first.Great Uncle Hoot-Toot
With an effort, recovering, she sought to distract the girl.Nobody
Louis Joseph Vance
- (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 distract
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.