- 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.
- 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 of distractMiddle English distracten ; from Classical Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere, to draw apart ; from dis-, apart + trahere, draw
transitive verbdis·tract·ed, dis·tract·ing, dis·tracts
- To cause (someone) to have difficulty paying attention to something: The voices in the other room distracted him, so he couldn't concentrate on his homework.
- To attract (the attention) away from its original focus; divert.
- To cause to feel worried or uneasy; unsettle: The company's workforce was distracted by the prospect of a takeover.
Origin of distractMiddle English distracten, from Latin distrahere, distract-, to pull away : dis-, apart; see dis– + trahere, to draw.
(third-person singular simple present distracts, present participle distracting, simple past and past participle distracted)
- (obsolete) Separated; drawn asunder.
- (obsolete) Insane; mad.
From Latin distraho (“to pull apart”), from dis- + traho (“to pull”).