- To distract is defined as to draw someone's attention away from something and on to something else.
- When you talk to your friend in class, this is an example of a situation where you distract your friend from what the teacher is saying.
- When you avoid thinking about a problem by keeping busy, this is an example of a situation where you distract yourself from thinking about the problem.
A baby distracts her mother from her work.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to draw (the mind, attention, etc.) away in another direction; divert
- to draw in conflicting directions; create conflict or confusion in
- Obsolete to drive insane; craze
Origin: Middle English distracten ; from Classical Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere, to draw apart ; from dis-, apart plush trahere, draw
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
transitive verb dis·tract·ed, dis·tract·ing, dis·tracts
- To cause to turn away from the original focus of attention or interest; divert.
- To pull in conflicting emotional directions; unsettle.
Origin: Middle English distracten, from Latin distrahere, distract-, to pull away : dis-, apart; see dis- + trahere, to draw.
- dis·tractˌi·bilˈi·ty noun
- dis·tractˈi·ble adjective
- dis·tractˈing·ly adverb
- dis·tracˈtive adjective