What does distract mean?

Definitions for distract

Here are all the possible meanings 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.

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. Pastor Packiam:

    When we cannot hide behind the projections of ourselves on social media, when we cannot distract ourselves with TV and phones and internet, when we cannot indulge ourselves in food and drink, thenwe come face to face with ourselves — our ugliness and our brokenness.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Jen Psaki:

    Just as you heard him say on Jan. 6 of last year, I would expect that President Biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol, and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw, he will forcibly push back on the lies spread by the former president – in an attempt to mislead the American people, and his own supporters, as well as distract from his role in what happened – so, he will, of course, speak to the moment, to the importance in history of the peaceful transfer of power, and of what we need to do to protect our own democracy and be forward-looking.

  5. Kamala Harris:

    They're going to engage in an attempt to distract from the real issues that are impacting the American people. And I expect that they will engage in dirty tactics. And this is going to be a knockdown, drag-out. And we're ready.

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