follow Dictionary.com

Hone in vs. home in? What's the difference?

distract

[dih-strakt] /dɪˈstrækt/
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.
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.
adjective
5.
Obsolete, distracted.
Origin of distract
1350-1400
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
Synonyms
2. bewilder, agitate, pain, torment, distress.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for distract
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Meanwhile, Porter, could you give him something to eat to distract him?

    Excuse Me! Rupert Hughes
  • He hoped to distract her from such grief over her predicament.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • And after that Mr. Direck became too anxious not to distract his host's thoughts to persist with his conversational openings.

  • Recently so many things had arisen to distract her attention.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • Dr. (rises) It is a drawback to interpolations that they interrupt the argument and distract the attention.

    The Silver Shield Sydney Grundy
British Dictionary definitions for distract

distract

/dɪˈstrækt/
verb (transitive)
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
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for distract
v.

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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for distract

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for distract

11
12
Scrabble Words With Friends