Borrowed from Middle French distraction, from Latin distractio.


  • IPA(key): /dɪsˈtɹækʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ækʃən
  • Hyphenation: dis‧tract‧ion


distraction (countable and uncountable, plural distractions)

  1. Something that distracts.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 1, page 297:
      At last the Duke of Anjou arrived, dressed, as his brother said, to distraction.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad[1]:
      “… This is a surprise attack, and I’d no wish that the garrison, forewarned, should escape. I am sure, Lord Stranleigh, that he has been descanting on the distraction of the woods and the camp, or perhaps the metropolitan dissipation of Philadelphia, …”
    Poking one's eye is a good distraction from a hurting toe.
  2. The process of being distracted.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, “The tao of tech”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 27:
      The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about "creating compelling content", or offering services that let you "stay up to date with what your friends are doing", [] and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention.
    We have to reduce distraction in class if we want students to achieve good results.
  3. Perturbation; disorder; disturbance; confusion.
    • 1662, Thomas Salusbury, Galileo's dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogue 2):
      It's true that the Copernican Systeme introduceth distraction in the universe of Aristotle.
  4. Mental disorder; a deranged state of mind; insanity.
    The incessant nightmares drove him to distraction.
    • 1673, Richard Baxter, Christian Directory
      [] if he speak the words of an oath in a strange language, thinking they signify something else, or if he spake in his sleep, or deliration, or distraction, it is no oath, and so not obligatory.
  5. (medicine, archaic) Traction so exerted as to separate surfaces normally opposed.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.





Borrowed from Latin distractiō.



distraction f (plural distractions)

  1. distraction
  2. entertainment

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit