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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
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for distract
  • Drawing up plans for fiscal federalism could distract government attention from the need for such reform.
  • They would also distract attention from the real source of the problem.
  • Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things.
  • Still, the downgrade should not be allowed to distract attention from the unemployment crisis.
  • And of course issues of faith should not distract attention from issues of economics and war.
  • These musings add little to the argument, and they distract attention from the main point.
  • Many joggers don earbuds and listen to music to distract themselves from the rigors of running.
  • While some presidents fear that the process will distract.
  • Others argue that significant time spent on social networking platforms actually distract students from their studies.
  • Put out quail blocks or birdseed to distract hungry birds.
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
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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
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