9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-trakt] /dɪˈtrækt/
verb (used without object)
to take away a part, as from quality, value, or reputation (usually followed by from).
verb (used with object)
to draw away or divert; distract:
to detract another's attention from more important issues.
Archaic. to take away (a part); abate:
The dilapidated barn detracts charm from the landscape.
Origin of detract
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (< Middle French detracter) < Latin dētractus drawn away (past participle of dētrahere), equivalent to dē- de- + tractus drawn; see tract1
Related forms
detractingly, adverb
detractor, noun
undetracting, adjective
undetractingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for detracted
  • The quality of student's education can be enhanced or detracted from based on the work done by administrative support staff.
  • They include page after page of heavy underlining and marginalia that a book dealer thought detracted from their value.
  • But so does agriculture, and that has not detracted much from beef sales.
  • The grilled ciabatta was delicious and gooey, but the charred crusts of the bread detracted from pure enjoyment.
  • Clumsy sweet potato latkes and overly bitter broccoli rabe detracted from a flavorful pork chop stuffed with brandied apples.
  • Our tactically short duration positioning detracted slightly as yields in general inched lower.
  • The report card also asked whether anything detracted from the stay.
  • After the coin was released, many protested that even the initials were conspicuous and detracted from the design.
  • Many distracting mannerisms, detracted from the presentation.
  • While this was necessary to minimize potential bias of question phrasing on responses, it potentially detracted from the results.
British Dictionary definitions for detracted


when intr, usually foll by from. to take away a part (of); diminish: her anger detracts from her beauty
(transitive) to distract or divert
(transitive) (obsolete) to belittle or disparage
Derived Forms
detractingly, adverb
detractive, detractory, adjective
detractively, adverb
detractor, noun
Usage note
Detract is sometimes wrongly used where distract is meant: a noise distracted (not detracted) my attention
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dētractus drawn away, from dētrahere to pull away, disparage, from de- + 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 detracted



early 15c., from Middle French détracter, from Latin detractus, past participle of detrahere "to take down, pull down, disparage" (see detraction). Related: Detracted; detracting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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