Definition of distract in English:


Line breaks: dis|tract
Pronunciation: /dɪˈstrakt


[with object]
  • 1Prevent (someone) from concentrating on something: don’t allow noise to distract you from your work
    More example sentences
    • Reverting back to a glossary distracts a reader from concentrating on the science in an article.
    • It distracted him enough to prevent a quick victory, but not enough to let Jeremy win.
    • Now I'm rambling, but these thoughts distract me from concentrating on my work and I must let them out.
    divert, deflect, sidetrack, turn aside/away, draw away; disturb, put off, cause to lose concentrationdisturbing, unsettling, intrusive, disconcerting, bothersome, confusing
    informal off-putting
  • 1.1Divert (attention) from something: it was another attempt to distract attention from the truth
    More example sentences
    • There is always a danger that new hi-tech systems will distract attention and divert energies from effective policing.
    • Remember, Gilligan made possible Alastair Campbell's diversionary tactic that distracted attention from the argument about the need for war.
    • The use of fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers.
  • 1.2 (distract oneself) Divert one’s attention from something unpleasant by doing something different or more pleasurable: I tried to distract myself by concentrating on Jane
    More example sentences
    • They walked in silence into the woods, and Jonathon focused most of his attention on the scenery to distract himself.
    • So, are you so over-committed because you're distracting yourself from the absurdity and meaninglessness of life?
    • You are thinking incredibly wrongly and are only distracting yourself from enjoying the rest of this.
  • 1.3 archaic Perplex and bewilder: horror and doubt distract His troubl’d thoughts


late Middle English (also in the sense 'pull in different directions'): from Latin distract- 'drawn apart', from the verb distrahere, from dis- 'apart' + trahere 'to draw, drag'.

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