English edit

Etymology edit

Borrowed from Latin distractus, from distrahō (to pull apart), from dis- + trahō (to pull).

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /dɪsˈtɹækt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ækt

Verb edit

distract (third-person singular simple present distracts, present participle distracting, simple past and past participle distracted)

  1. (transitive) To divert the attention of.
    The crowd was distracted by a helicopter hovering over the stadium when the only goal of the game was scored.
    • 2011 December 10, David Ornstein, “Arsenal 1-0 Everton”, in BBC Sport:
      While Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had warned his players against letting the pre-match festivities distract them from the task at hand, they clearly struggled for fluency early on.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55:
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 65:
      I eschew the idea of plugging in my laptop to take notes and resort to old-fashioned pen and paper instead, so that I can enjoy more of the view and not be distracted by bashing a keyboard.
  2. (transitive) To make crazy or insane; to drive to distraction.

Related terms edit

Translations edit

Adjective edit

distract (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Separated; drawn asunder.
  2. (obsolete) Insane; mad.
    • 1612, Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion, song 6 p. 3:
      (Alone shee beeing left the spoyle of love and death,
      In labour of her griefe outrageously distract,
      The utmost of her spleene on her false lord to act)

See also edit

Anagrams edit