distract mid-14c., "to draw asunder or apart, to turn aside" (literal and figurative), from L. distractus, pp. of distrahere "draw in different directions," from dis- "away" (see DIS- (Cf. dis-)) + trahere "to draw" (see TRACT (Cf. tract) (1)). Sense of "to throw into a state of mind in which one knows not how to act" is from 1580s. Related: Distracted; distracting; distractedly; distractedness.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Distract — Dis*tract , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Distracted}, old p. p. {Distraught}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Distracting}.] 1. To draw apart or away; to divide; to disjoin. [1913 Webster] A city . . . distracted from itself. Fuller. [1913 Webster] 2. To draw (the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Distract — Dis*tract , a. [L. distractus, p. p. of distrahere to draw asunder; dis + trahere to draw. See {Trace}, and cf. {Distraught}.] 1. Separated; drawn asunder. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. Insane; mad. [Obs.] Drayton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • distract — index bait (harass), confuse (bewilder), disorganize, disorient, disrupt, disturb, divert …   Law dictionary

  • distract — bewilder, nonplus, confound, dumbfound, mystify, perplex, *puzzle Analogous words: *confuse, muddle, addle, fuddle, befuddle: baffle, balk (see FRUSTRATE): agitate, upset, fluster, flurry, perturb, *discompose Antonyms: collect (one s thoughts,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • distract — [v] divert attention; confuse abstract, addle, agitate, amuse, befuddle, beguile, bewilder, call away, catch flies*, confound, derange, detract, discompose, disconcert, disturb, divert, draw away, engross, entertain, fluster, frenzy, harass, lead …   New thesaurus

  • distract — ► VERB 1) prevent (someone) from giving their full attention to something. 2) divert (attention) from something. DERIVATIVES distracted adjective distracting adjective. ORIGIN Latin distrahere draw apart …   English terms dictionary

  • distract — [di strakt′] vt. [ME distracten < L distractus, pp. of distrahere, to draw apart < dis , apart + trahere, DRAW] 1. to draw (the mind, attention, etc.) away in another direction; divert 2. to draw in conflicting directions; create conflict… …   English World dictionary

  • distract */ — UK [dɪˈstrækt] / US verb [transitive] Word forms distract : present tense I/you/we/they distract he/she/it distracts present participle distracting past tense distracted past participle distracted to get someone s attention and prevent them from… …   English dictionary

  • distract — detract, distract Both words are used transitively (with an object) followed by from; but their meanings are different. Detract, which (more than distract) is also used without an object, means ‘to take away (a part of something), to diminish’: • …   Modern English usage

  • distract — dis|tract [ dı strækt ] verb transitive * to get someone s attention and prevent them from concentrating on something: She was distracted by the sound of running water. distract someone from something: We must let nothing distract us from our… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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