What does distract mean?

Definitions for distract

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word distract.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. distract, deflectverb

    draw someone's attention away from something

    "The thief distracted the bystanders"; "He deflected his competitors"

  2. perturb, unhinge, disquiet, trouble, cark, distract, disorderverb

    disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed

    "She was rather perturbed by the news that her father was seriously ill"


  1. distractverb

    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.

  2. Etymology: From distrahere, from dis- + trahere.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To DISTRACTverb

    part. pass. destracted; anciently destraught.

    Etymology: distractus, Latin.

    By sea, by sea.
    —— Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
    The absolute soldiership you have by land;
    Distract your army, which doth most consist
    Of war-mark’d footmen. William Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra.

    If he cannot wholly avoid the eye of the observer, he hopes to distract it by a multiplicity of the object. Robert South, Sermons.

    While I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. Ps. lxxxviii. 15.

    Come, cousin, can’st thou quake, and change thy colour,
    Murther thy breath in middle of a word,
    And then again begin, and stop again,
    As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror? William Shakespeare, R. III.

    It would burst forth; but I recover breath,
    And sense distract, to know well what I utter. John Milton, Agonist.

    He possesses a quiet and cheerful mind, not afflicted with violent passions, or distracted with immoderate cares. John Ray.

    If our sense of hearing were a thousand times quicker than it is, how would a perpetual noise distract us? We should, in the quietest retirement, be less able to sleep or meditate than in the middle of a sea-fight. John Locke.

    Wherefore throng you hither?
    ———— To fetch my poor distracted husband hence:
    Let us come in, that we may bind him fast,
    And bear him home for his recovery. William Shakespeare, Com. of Err.

    Better I were distract,
    So should my thoughts be sever’d from my griefs,
    And woes, by wrong imagination, lose
    The knowledge of themselves. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    She was unable, in strength of mind, to bear the grief of his decease, and fell distracted of her wits. Francis Bacon, Hen. VII.

    You shall find a distracted man fancy himself a king, and with a right inference require suitable attendance, respect, and obedience. John Locke.


  1. distract

    Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of an individual or group from a desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information. Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources. External distractions include factors such as visual triggers, social interactions, music, text messages, and phone calls. There are also internal distractions such as hunger, fatigue, illness, worrying, and daydreaming. Both external and internal distractions contribute to the interference of focus.


  1. distract

    Distract refers to drawing someone's attention away from the task at hand or diverting their focus from a particular activity or subject, usually causing them to lose concentration. It could also imply causing someone to feel anxious or vaguely troubled about something.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Distractadjective

    separated; drawn asunder

  2. Distractadjective

    insane; mad

  3. Distractverb

    to draw apart or away; to divide; to disjoin

  4. Distractverb

    to draw (the sight, mind, or attention) in different directions; to perplex; to confuse; as, to distract the eye; to distract the attention

  5. Distractverb

    to agitate by conflicting passions, or by a variety of motives or of cares; to confound; to harass

  6. Distractverb

    to unsettle the reason of; to render insane; to craze; to madden; -- most frequently used in the participle, distracted

  7. Etymology: [L. distractus, p. p. of distrahere to draw asunder; dis- + trahere to draw. See Trace, and cf. Distraught.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Distract

    dis-trakt′, v.t. to draw in different directions—applied to the mind or attention: to confuse: to harass: to render crazy: to divert.—adj. Distract′ed.—adv. Distract′edly.—n. Distract′edness.—adjs. Distract′ible; Distract′ile (bot.), carried widely apart.—n. Distrac′tion, state of being distracted: perplexity: agitation: madness: a diversion.—adj. Distract′ive, causing perplexity.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of distract in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of distract in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of distract in a Sentence

  1. Grigor Dimitrov:

    If I win I will roll upside down on the court. So if I get to that point, every one will get to see my acrobatics live ! , i got bored on the tube. Then I just decided to take a funky photo. It was a good way to distract Grigor Dimitrov.

  2. Katerina Brudnaya-Chelyadinova:

    It's cool content, it's easy to produce, it's full of humour and it helps to distract you when you look at those works.

  3. David Payne:

    The Ted Cruz campaign said in response to Manafort's comments : The Cruz campaign's no surprise that Trump's team will lash out with falsehoods when facing a loss to distract from their failure. … We have earned our success by working hard to build a superior organization and are working within the process and rules. Anticipating a fight for every delegate, Ted Cruz was campaigning Monday in California, which holds a delegate-rich primary on June 7. David Payne, a Republican strategist and Vox Global partner, suggested on Monday that Cruz’s efforts to win delegate support will be indispensable if Donald Trump fails to get to 1,237 delegates -- as the candidates would have to compete for them during balloting at an open convention in July. Ted Cruz will be on familiar turf, consider that Ted Cruz is likely to win a handful of the remaining winner-take-all states … coupled with proportional delegate wins for Ted Cruz and Ted Cruz and John Kasich, this makes it mathematically difficult for Donald Trump to win the nomination according to the current convention rules.

  4. Chairman Mike Rake:

    We're absolutely willing to form an Openreach board that would have an independent chairman, a majority of independent directors. We're willing to give more authority to Openreach in determination of its capital investment programme, but we believe very strongly ... that this would be the wrong time to break up BT and distract us from the remaining investment to get superfast and ultrafast broadband right across the country in the next two to three years.

  5. Clio Boele:

    These false allegations distract from the important work of finding solutions to a complex public health crisis by placing blame where it does not belong. Government data consistently makes clear that our nation's opioid crisis is growing rapidly because of illicit fentanyl and heroin smuggled in from China and Mexico, we strongly deny these allegations, which are inconsistent with the factual record, and will vigorously defend against them.

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"distract." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/distract>.

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    a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation
    A aerial
    B downsizing
    C nuisance
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